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My biochar production tally thread.

 
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I'm starting this thread to keep track of my biochar production.  I burn in a steel barrel cut in half lengthwise then quench, it usually ends up heaped up a bit, so batches are roughly 30 gallons.  Therefore I will be keeping totals in gallons.  My best estimate of production to date is around 400 gallons.  My goal is to spread a meaningful amount biochar over roughly 2.5 acres of food savannah.  Should keep me busy for years to come;)
 
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Nice! I just did some quick math, and I came up with also about 400 gallons so far this year; in 2 morning sessions. If you have a lot of brush, which it sounds like you do, you should think about doing it in a pit! Once it gets going, you can just pile brush on basically non-stop. If you make the pit as big as the biggest branch you feel like schlepping, you can basically cut out all the fuel-prep and just pile stuff up to burn when its dry.

https://permies.com/t/157204/Experimenting-biochar-pit#1245226

I am getting a jump on fire season preparation this year, and cleaning up a bunch of slash I cut over the winter. I am hoping I will be able to make another couple hundred gallons this spring, as the the branches are looking dry enough to burn.

How much biochar are you aiming to add to your soil? I am guessing you are going to skip inoculation and just spread it out? I still need to find a use for all mine; I am currently just looking at it as a carbon-offset for living an irresponsible (if somewhat unavoidable) industrialized lifestyle.
 
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I encourage you to activate the biochar. I used urine, compost, and worm castings to inoculate mine and I am pretty amazed at the results thus far. Here are a couple of squash plants I amended with biochar before direct seeding. They are enormous compared to anything I grew last year.
Crook-neck-squash.jpg
[Thumbnail for Crook-neck-squash.jpg]
zuccini.jpg
[Thumbnail for zuccini.jpg]
 
Gray Henon
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Shoveled out yesterday's batch into a 55 gallon drum.  Between the heaping and spill over it came to around 50 gallons (only counted 30).  Made another 30 gallons this morning with less heap and less spillover.  So let's add 50 gallons (today's 30 plus 20 extra from yesterday) to the total, now 450.

 
Gray Henon
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Benjamin Duggar wrote:I encourage you to activate the biochar. I used urine, compost, and worm castings to inoculate mine and I am pretty amazed at the results thus far. Here are a couple of squash plants I amended with biochar before direct seeding. They are enormous compared to anything I grew last year.



I have "activated" plenty of char in the past with urine.  But despite a fondness for barley soda, I don't think I could produce this much!  But, the savanna is grazed by sheep, a goat, and a cow which deposit copious amounts of manure and urine.  It may not get doused immediately, but it will happen.  They also do me the service of crushing the biochar with their hooves.
 
Gray Henon
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Carl Nystrom wrote:Nice! I just did some quick math, and I came up with also about 400 gallons so far this year; in 2 morning sessions. If you have a lot of brush, which it sounds like you do, you should think about doing it in a pit! Once it gets going, you can just pile brush on basically non-stop. If you make the pit as big as the biggest branch you feel like schlepping, you can basically cut out all the fuel-prep and just pile stuff up to burn when its dry.

https://permies.com/t/157204/Experimenting-biochar-pit#1245226

I am getting a jump on fire season preparation this year, and cleaning up a bunch of slash I cut over the winter. I am hoping I will be able to make another couple hundred gallons this spring, as the the branches are looking dry enough to burn.

How much biochar are you aiming to add to your soil? I am guessing you are going to skip inoculation and just spread it out? I still need to find a use for all mine; I am currently just looking at it as a carbon-offset for living an irresponsible (if somewhat unavoidable) industrialized lifestyle.



I did consider the pit, but opted for the mobile drum to get closer to the brush and minimize hauling.  Also don't want to fall in it one night while checking on the animals!  I might reconsider in the future once I get the fuel load whittled down a bit.

I think it would take me a 100 years to overdo it, so I am just adding what I can from prunings, coppice fodder, self pruning from the trees, and windfalls.  Right now, I am burning through 10+ years of deadfall.  

Yep, just spreading it and letting the animals/worms/dung beetles do the rest.

Carbon offset was never really part of my plan (I just like growing stuff!), but ironically, since we are not traveling due to covid, the biochar operation is locking up a significant portion of our fossil fuel consumption.
 
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Carl Nystrom wrote: I still need to find a use for all mine;  




If you really can't find a use for it, and don't mind shipping it out, I could use more for my farm. I'm having to make char from things other than wood, and  I haven't found a way to do that efficiently since most of the fuels don't burn hot enough to char themselves. So, if anybody wants to dump large amounts of biochar on my field, I would let you :)
 
Gray Henon
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+30



Total 480
 
Gray Henon
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Had a lot of overflow/heapage on this afternoon's load so call it 35 gallons.

515
 
Gray Henon
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I've got most of the small diameter deadfall cleaned out of 3/4 acre of white pines with the help of my two kids that are home everyday due to the pandemic.  After we finish this section up, we have another 3/4 acre to go...
 
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