Transcript of Biochar in Agriculture event at Wollongbar, NSW

​This four minute video was produced to communicate the outcomes of the the ‘Biochar in Agriculture’ workshop in Wollongbar NSW. More than 110 primary producers attended a recent update on the National Biochar Research Initiative to hear that waste products like chicken manure, woodchips and rice husks can be converted to biochar and have the potential to help improve soil conditions and mitigate green house gas emissions.

Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry
Transcript – Biochar in Agriculture at Wollongbar Video (Final) – Biochar in Agriculture: an update for farmer

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Biochar in Agriculture at Wollongbar, NSW [3:59] 

17 July 2012

Transcript

  1. Voice Over:
    More than 110 primary producers attended a recent update on the National Biochar Research Initiative which was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s $46.2 million Climate Change Research Program.

    Producers, participating in the ‘Biochar in Agriculture’ workshop heard that waste products like chicken manure, woodchips and rice husks can be converted to biochar and have the potential to help improve soil conditions and mitigate green house gas emissions.

    One of the keynote speakers was Lukas van Zwieten from NSW DPI, who’s been conducting the biochar trials here at Wollongbar.

    We’ve been looking at a range of soil constraints and some of the benefits that we’re seeing through applying biochar include; improvements in soil ph, improvements in soil physical characteristics like tensile strength, permeability. We’ve certainly got some information on impacts of biochar on nutrient availability, in particular in the ferrosols, we’re finding significantly improved phosphorous availability following biochar amendment.

    Certainly farmers are very interested in productivity and economic viability at the moment and  this type of technology  will have significant benefits  for farmers, I think, in the future.

  2. Dr Lukas van Zweiten, Senior Research Scientist, NSW DPI:
    We’ve got a range of field sites here at Wollongbar,looking at the impacts of biochar on pasture production, on crop rotations and we’re looking at a range of aspects from soil chemistry through to soil biology and production, impacts on production.
  3. Voice Over:
    Local certified organic farmer, David Roby said the forum provided a great opportunity  to meet with the researchers and hear local and national results first hand.

    Mr David Roby, Certified Organic Farmer, Northern Rivers, NSW:
    Maybe I knew the rough details. It’s interesting to get the specifics. For instance I’ve got a lot of, I’ve got 15 acres of camphor laurels that are a problem on my property  and the idea of  making biochar out of them and even maybe using the gas to run a bit of machinery – it’s a very good, sustainable idea.

  4. Voice Over:
    Mr Roby said it’s important that producers have access to and take on board what the scientists are saying, and look at ways to implement these ideas into their own systems.

    Mr David Roby, Certified Organic Farmer, Northern Rivers, NSW:
    We definitely need the DPI and other government agencies to actually talk to people with some reality. I think that with climate change, I think it’s very hard for a lay person to have a really good knowledge of the realities of climate change. We should accept what the top scientists are saying and we need to and with these types of things, like the biochar that can help, we need to listen to what the top scientists are saying and find ways to fit it into our systems rather than rely on our own opinions.

  5. Voice Over:
    One important outcome of the research is that the effectiveness of biochar depends on what it’s made from and what kind of soil it’s applied to. Not all biochars have the same properties or benefits.

    Mr David Roby, Certified Organic Farmer, Northern Rivers, NSW:
    I have heard before that biochar is not always just biochar. In different fields and in different soil that you’re putting it in. I’m hearing something specifically about my soil here today, so that’ll be handy.

    Interviewer:
    Just how important do you think this research is?

    Mr David Roby, Certified Organic Farmer, Northern Rivers, NSW:
    Oh, I think it’s crucial.

  6. Voice Over:
    The Australian Government’s Climate Change Research Program is a significant research effort aimed at providing practical solutions for our primary industries to adapt to the changing climate.

    The CCRP has laid the vital groundwork for further research, demonstration and extension that will now occur through the Australian Government’s $429 million Carbon Farming Futures program.

    This event was supported by funding and in-kind support from the following partners:

    NSW DPI
    CSIRO

    END