African Journal of Agriculture

African Journal of Agriculture ISSN 2375-1134 Vol. 4 (1), pp. 254-262, January, 2017. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper 

Determination of sufficiency of crop residue for biochar application

*Masauso Ndhlovu and Noble Banadda

Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda. 

Email: mandhlovu@yahoo.com

Received 13 October, 2016; Revised 13 November, 2016; Accepted 16 November, 2016 and Published 10 January, 2017

Abstract

Biochar technology is among possible solutions to the problem of low productivity in farming communities. However, the technology is yet to be adopted by farmers. One of the reasons for this is uncertainty on a sustainable supply of feedstock material. Through the analysis of maize residue, pyrolysis, and biochar application rates, this paper unveils the fact that a region generates enough feedstock for itself without extra activity.  The mass of residue generated from a maize field or region was found to be 2.47N (where N is mass of produce). The total mass of maize residue in the selected countries was found to be 40,495,650 tonnes. Out of this amount, 16,198,260 tonnes of biochar could have been produced and applied on a total area of 3,239,652 hectares. This area was about 34% (or one-third) of the total planted area (9,414,000). Thus at an application interval of three seasons, the generated residue would suffice. It was observed that as yield increases the area covered as a percentage of planted area increases. Thus at high yield, there would be extra biochar or residue for other uses. This knowledge would enhance interest in biochar technology as it guarantee sustainable supply of feedstock material.

Keywords: Biochar, crop residue, feedstock, maize, pyrolysis, residue product ratio.

Received 13 October, 2016; Revised 13 November, 2016; Accepted 16 November, 2016 and Published 10 January, 2017