Biochar is an extremely porous material created from thermal treatment of biomass under limited oxygen supply, by a process called as pyrolysis.
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Benefits of Biochar in Dairy and Cattle fodder industry
Biochar is an extremely porous material created from thermal treatment of biomass under
limited oxygen supply, by a process called as pyrolysis.
This decomposition of biomass under temperatures going up to 250-300 degrees Celsius yields a
product similar to charcoal.
The porosity provides a very large surface area on which to trap minute particles like microbes,
which find it as an ideal habitat for survival.
Civilization has benefited from the properties of biochar for more than a thousand years. The
inherent qualities of biochar to improve the quality of soil, water retention, make it more fertile
for farming purposes have served agriculturists to improve the quality of harvest.
Humans quickly realized from technological advancements, and various studies made on
biochar over the years, that this form of charcoal could be utilized in various other industries for
its unique properties. Recently biochar is making waves in agriculture not for its use as a soil
amendment, but its application in cattle feed, and other animal based industries like the dairy
and meat industry.
Applications of Biochar as green feed for animals
Researchers over the years have confirmed that addition of biochar to animal feed has the
potential to offer a number of invaluable benefits. Let’s look at some of the practices and its
effects on the animal industry:
·Better quality of milk and dairy products: The purpose of biochar fed to cows is basically
to bind toxins, and clear it from the system in a natural manner. To take an example,
aflatoxins is a naturally occurring product generated in soils and found mainly in corn,
soybean or distiller grains. When eaten by livestock, a certain amount can make its way to
the eggs, milk and meat which are products being consumed by us, humans which cause all
sorts of health hazards from digestion imbalance to even cancer. Now for some good news.
From a study done in India, by supplementing biochar into the daily feed for cows, the result
showed a significant fall in levels of aflatoxins in milk and other dairy products.
·Better digestion: Use of biochar for animal feed has improved digestion in cattle by a
·Improved immunity: Biochar acts as an adsorbent, creating a large surface area to lock up
toxins, and remove it from the system naturally. This provides a breeding ground for
microbial activity and protects the digestive tract from any damage.
·Increased growth rate: In broilers an increased growth rates, body weights and a greater
feed to meat ratio has been documented as a result of biochar in feed.
·Reduced Methane production: Methane is produced naturally in the rumen of cows as
part of the digestive process. Studies, based on introducing biochar as cattle feed has show
reduction of net methane production in cows. Methane is also a greenhouse gas, and
application of biochar in litter of chicken coops due to its adsorbent properties has shown a
reduction in the gas.
Biochar For Cattle Industry
Over the years research has established that biochar has more than just a few applications in
agriculture. One company manufacturing biochar and making significant strides in this aspect is
AG-Biochar. Based out of California, they have developed a grade of biochar which is safe to use
as a soil enhancer and at the same time as green feed for cattle which they have named as
AG-Biochar has expanded their horizon to a range of other industries apart from agriculture e.g.
the vineyard, fruit & nut orchard industry, the beef & swine meat industry and many more.
Biochar’s scope of implementation will surely help the product to gain a strong foothold in
Animal Feed Supplement