2017 - Poultry Litter Biochar for Horticulture


The 2017 – Poultry Litter Biochar for Horticulture trails were a continuation of the 2016 trials. The trial examined the effect of applying poultry litter biochar to soil in a horticultural system and its effect on nutrient availability, plant health and yield.

Our assumption was that by adding biochar to the soil it will hold nutrients applied through a fertigation system and make them more available to plants.

Workers applying fertiliser to soil under a greenhouse - 2017 biochar trials


The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) extended the funding for another year to see if the benefits of applying poultry litter biochar in a horticultural context continued over the longer term. Biochar has been likened to acting as a slow release fertiliser and it may take some time for the soil microbes to integrate with the biochar. Therefore any benefits might not be seen immediately.


The extension of the treatments from 2016 showed higher yields across all treatments including the control. Treatment 4, low rate of biochar & low rate of fertiliser and most economical treatment, was the best performer in 2017, again supporting the theory that using biochar in conjunction with fertiliser can mean increased fertiliser efficiency.

Unfortunately, funding for this trial ended at the end of 2017 and we were unable to measure any long term benefits.

Please see 2017 Poultry Litter Biochar for Horticulture Final Report for more information.



Graph showing biochar trial results