Effect of rock phosphate and biochar soil amendment on berry crops, soil properties, as well as carbon emissions in four ecological soils in southern Alberta

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $108,600
Commodity: Soil
Organization: Red Crow Community College
Investigator: Adebusoye Onanuga

Biochar is a soil amendment that helps store carbon as well as other greenhouse gases in the soil to mitigate climate change.

June 2024

Research results

This research aimed to investigate how rock phosphate and biochar soil amendments would mitigate nitrous and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as increase soil fertility.

  1. Emissions reduction

    Application of biochar and rock phosphate reduced nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. Biochar mitigates climate change when applied to the soil, and it discourages nutrients leaching out of the root soil, and improves effective nutrient uptake.

  2. Increased yields

    Findings show that biochar increases soil fertility. It helps store nutrients, and releases them slowly for plant use and increased crop yield.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

This research aims to develop an innovative new approach to food security, fruit quality, and climate change using biochar and rock phosphate fertilizer that will sustainably enhance soil and berry crops (strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry) to produce a significant increase in crop yield, crop quality, and increased carbon sequestration. Biochar is a soil amendment that helps store carbon as well as other greenhouse gases in the soil to mitigate climate change. Rock phosphate is an organic phosphorus fertilizer used to enhance soil fertility and crop production. Biochar and rock phosphate are cheap, affordable resources available to farmers, but their effect, particularly on berry crops, has not been studied in southern Alberta.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

Findings would increase the yield and quality of berry crops for berry industries. This project will also add knowledge of soil qualities, crop qualities, crop yield, residual or retention of essential nutrient levels in soils after harvest, and climate change.

This project addresses climate change by keeping carbon emission and other greenhouse gases in the soil, as well as retention of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for sustainable crop production.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Results will be demonstrated to farmers and associations through small plot adoption trials and factsheets. Presentations will also be made at workshops, seminars, webinars, conferences, trade shows, and published in journals.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.