PhD Oral Defense of Rachel Backer, Department of Plant Science
Biochar, produced from waste materials has shown promise for increasing crop yields while simultaneously sequestering atmospheric carbon into soils. When this project began, little data was available about biochar effects under temperate-zone field conditions. Therefore, the first goal of this project was to determine whether biochar can improve crop yields under Québec, Canada field conditions. The results of a three-year field experiment demonstrate that biochar produced from softwood chips, applied at 20 Mg ha-1, increases yield and N uptake of corn by 14.2 and 18.2 %, respectively, while yield and N uptake of soybean and switchgrass were not affected by biochar soil amendment. In order to further understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of biochar on corn yield and N uptake, two greenhouse experiments were conducted.
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