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Shredded Corn Cobs For Your Land?


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#1 teletiger

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Posted 2009-03-13 21:11:26

Have read a lot on here about putting rice skin on land to improve the earth. No rice skin around here. But lots of pulverized corn cobs. Would it do the same job?
Regards.

#2 Carmine6

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Posted 2009-03-14 05:55:37

This answer is totally out of left field, but take a look at biochar. Bascially you'd make charcoal, not burn it, and integrate it into the soil, not leave it on top.

For a long time, people couldn't figure out how the Aztecs in South America could support such dense populations. The soil is so poor. But there's always been these big patches of really rich soil - terra preta. Someone finally figured out that if you mix charcoal into poor soil, it turns into terra preta in a few years. They literally mine the terra preta and sell it as topsoil. It grows back, although slowly.

Ignore the carbon sequestration crap, that's just trying to sell the idea on industrial scales. The benefits are said to be better water retention, huge increase in microorganisms and biologic activities in the soil and resulting increase in nutrients, and lower fertilizer requirements. It also doesn't deplete like things placed on top of the soil.

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Terra_preta
http://www.biochar.org/joomla/
http://www.biochar-international.org/

#3 jandtaa

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Posted 2009-03-14 06:23:06

Have read a lot on here about putting rice skin on land to improve the earth. No rice skin around here. But lots of pulverized corn cobs. Would it do the same job?
Regards.

Hi Teletiger 

yeah the shreddings from corn corn plant residue could be used as mulch or composted first and then applied to the land, you can find more info about composting and mulch in the tropics here jandtaa's farming docs


Biochar- interesting article, learn something new everyday !! I usually include a small percentage of charcoal in my compost that is prepared with bio-indigineous micro-organisms as the micro-pores in the charcoal apparently provide an ideal habitat for them. Wonder if the natives were using early EM when they constructed their pits ??

cheers Jandtaa

#4 teletiger

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Posted 2009-03-15 17:03:57

Biochar looks interesting. Just pulled a small piece from a website.

Doses: 400 kg / ha – 1000 kg / ha at different horticultural cultivars

Plant height Increase 141 % versus control
Picking yield Increase 630 % versus control
Picking fruit Increase 650 % versus control
Total yield Increase 202 % versus control
Total piece of fruit Increase 171 % versus control
Fruit weight Increase 118 % versus control

Those are some serious numbers.
Here's the site. It's big and technical. Right up Jandtaa's street. :D :o

http://boilingspot.b...-brakes-on.html
Regards.

#5 jandtaa

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Posted 2009-03-15 17:56:02

dam_n right it's up my street TT another organic possibility to pursue !! Maybe this one's the "holy grail" :o !! Maybe not but definitely worth exploring !! I've previously posted about rice husk charcoal and this looks along the same lines. Sorry if you find my stuff over technical I do try to post stuff that is easy to understand for a lay person as it were after all I'm one myself !! It's just my inquiring mind, I like to know the science behind the methodology and its the only way you can hold your own in an informed debate with conventional farmers and sceptics when it comes to organics, they need hard facts and science not "happy horseshit" as one poster so eloquently put it. Having said that I'm certainly not out to try and convert people, need my energy for other things and certainly don't feel I hold the moral highground. Each to their own afterall and as long as they dont pollute my land with their nasty chems good luck to them !! I reckon if many felt there was a financially viable way to convert they would !! Well where theres a will there's a way !! I'll just keep on posting and let people take from it what they will  :D !!

cheers fella Jandtaa   

#6 teletiger

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Posted 2009-03-15 18:29:55

Haha.....Noooo...We like your posts. Personally, I'm 20% technical, 80% hands on, so your posts fit the bill exactly. Trouble is, I can't be arsed to decipher the really technical stuff. Others can....great for everyone.
Now I'm sure there's some very important points in.....

http://www.ldd.go.th...ogram/P3108.HTM

But for me.....Someone wrote it in Mongolian. Take me a week to plough through it with Wordweb. Someone should invent a TechnoTranslator. 'And in true Thai fashion....not a paragraph in sight. :o Please don't take my comment in a bad light, it was meant as a :D
Regards.

#7 jandtaa

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Posted 2009-03-15 19:04:13

Haha fackin priceless TT !!! :o

For almost a second I was gonna try and distill any pertinent points and try and translate !! Then I opened the doc and pissed meself !! I'm sure the "techno translator" would return "can't be arsed" also !! Come across plenty like this on my late night travels through cyber-space (when others can't sleep they binge eat, I on the otherhand binge google !! not unusual to find me after a 14 hour day and a hard service in the restaurant full of adrenaline/caffeine and on page 40 of a google search on some obscure organic fact when the sun comes up !!) Typical of some post-grad thesis by a sorry student avoiding life in the real world and about as much use as tits on a fish to the man in the field who's supposed to apply these possibly life changing facts !! At least study something bloody useful such as how long can you dunk a rich tea biscuit in a cup of tea when the tea's temperature is X,Yand Z before the biscuit disintergrates and makes a nasty sludge at the bottom of your cup !! A true piece of research in the U.K in recent years, cant remember the uni, just glad I'm not a tax payer any more and personally digestives and coffee would have been my chosen subject !!

Glad you're enjoying the posts and thanks again for the best laugh I've had in ages !! (I know, I should get out more!! difficult in these parts but back to the U.K. in 3 weeks for some high jinks )

kindest regards Jandtaa

Edited by jandtaa, 2009-03-15 19:11:23.


#8 jandtaa

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Posted 2009-03-16 10:23:16

okay heres some much more readable info :

 Potential benefits of biochar are as follows:

First, soil water retention is increased with application of biochar and therefore increases water “bioavailability.” The water-retention property of biochar has particularly important implications for drought-prone and low-rainfall climates. 

Second, biochar has excellent nutrient attraction and retention properties that improves fertilizer efficiency and boosts crop yields. Biochar improves the cation exchange capacity (CEC), which is a measure of the soil’s ability to retain nutrients that are in the form of positive ions such as calcium (Ca++), magnesium (Mg++), and potassium (K+). 

Third, Biochar also aids with retention of nitrogen and phosphorus. John Gaunt has conservatively estimated that biochar increases nitrogen fertilizer efficiency by 10% (Gaunt, 2008) and others have found that biochar reduces soil emissions of nitrous oxide by upwards of 50%. Phosphorus has also been found to have greater bioavailability in studies (Steiner, 2007).

Increased nutrient retention of soils amended with biochar prevents fertilizers and other nutrients from being leached into streams and groundwater or from mineralizing out of the soil into the atmosphere. This allows for more effective use and lower application rates of fertilizers which can have a significant influence on net greenhouse gas reduction since ammonium nitrogen fertilizer is typically produces with natural gas (in the Haber-Bosch process) and much of this is released as nitrous oxide (N2O) which is 310 times as effective a greenhouse gas than CO2.  

Reduced nutrient runoff decreases the extent and magnitude of hypoxic “dead zones” in the ocean where massive decaying algal blooms cause deadly anaerobic conditions that rob the ocean of oxygen and essentially suffocating all marine life. 

Fourth, biochar increases aeration (amount of air in the soil), tilth (the necessary nutrients, structure, and ease of tillage to grow healthy crops), and, decreases bulk density. 

Fifth, biochar acts, like a “microbial reef” allowing the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Daniel Warnock, in “Mycorrhizal Responses to Biochar in Soils,” reports that the effects of biochar on mycorrhizal fungi, at present, are still somewhat uncertain, but that it appears that biochar can (i) increase colonization rates of mycorrhizal fungi and (ii) decrease the likelihood of plant pathogen infection. 

Sixth, biochar acts as a “liming agent” making soils less acidic. Biochar can effectively increase pH by 1 to 1.2 points. 

Turns out the rice hull charcoal I mentioned previously is in fact bio-char !! Will post more info on the production methods for rural farmers and applications in the organic farming thread over the next couple of days as there would appear to be evidence that it can also aid legume innoculation and is improved by treating with compost-tea (a couple of subjects I have posted on recently, love it when everything just suddenly falls into place !!) as well as some info on mycorrhizal fungi and their importance in your soil.

 cheers once again Carmine for the heads up !! Any other "left field" gems like this you care to share ??

Jandtaa 

Edited by jandtaa, 2009-03-16 10:24:43.


#9 Carmine6

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Posted 2009-03-16 19:34:34

Well I hope you guys can make something out of it and get the word out if successful.

It just struck me that there were a lot of reasons why it might help in Thailand. There's the poor soil. water retention issues. and habit of burning excess vegetative matter already. So all it would take is burning inside of closed drums instead and plowing into the fields. Also I've heard that a lot of money gets put into chemical fertilizer. Cutting that down could make a huge difference to the small family farms. Plus any yield increase might mean putting money away instead of just getting by.

One website I read said they had terrible results with coconut husks, but then figured out it didn't have enough carbon which I guess that means it wasn't charred enough. Someone else tried charring it more and all was fine. Also it sucks nitrogen out of the soil when first introduced due to some decomposing activity, so that has to be supplemented.

#10 runker

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Posted 2009-03-17 00:28:37

I see biochard is part of the 2008 farm bill here in the US, now I'm going to have to ask Senator Boxer what she knows about it.

#11 Foreverford

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Posted 2009-03-17 05:17:29

okay heres some much more readable info :

Potential benefits of biochar are as follows:

First, soil water retention is increased with application of biochar and therefore increases water “bioavailability.” The water-retention property of biochar has particularly important implications for drought-prone and low-rainfall climates.

Second, biochar has excellent nutrient attraction and retention properties that improves fertilizer efficiency and boosts crop yields. Biochar improves the cation exchange capacity (CEC), which is a measure of the soil’s ability to retain nutrients that are in the form of positive ions such as calcium (Ca++), magnesium (Mg++), and potassium (K+).

Third, Biochar also aids with retention of nitrogen and phosphorus. John Gaunt has conservatively estimated that biochar increases nitrogen fertilizer efficiency by 10% (Gaunt, 2008) and others have found that biochar reduces soil emissions of nitrous oxide by upwards of 50%. Phosphorus has also been found to have greater bioavailability in studies (Steiner, 2007).

Increased nutrient retention of soils amended with biochar prevents fertilizers and other nutrients from being leached into streams and groundwater or from mineralizing out of the soil into the atmosphere. This allows for more effective use and lower application rates of fertilizers which can have a significant influence on net greenhouse gas reduction since ammonium nitrogen fertilizer is typically produces with natural gas (in the Haber-Bosch process) and much of this is released as nitrous oxide (N2O) which is 310 times as effective a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Reduced nutrient runoff decreases the extent and magnitude of hypoxic “dead zones” in the ocean where massive decaying algal blooms cause deadly anaerobic conditions that rob the ocean of oxygen and essentially suffocating all marine life.

Fourth, biochar increases aeration (amount of air in the soil), tilth (the necessary nutrients, structure, and ease of tillage to grow healthy crops), and, decreases bulk density.

Fifth, biochar acts, like a “microbial reef” allowing the proliferation of beneficial microorganisms including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Daniel Warnock, in “Mycorrhizal Responses to Biochar in Soils,” reports that the effects of biochar on mycorrhizal fungi, at present, are still somewhat uncertain, but that it appears that biochar can (i) increase colonization rates of mycorrhizal fungi and (ii) decrease the likelihood of plant pathogen infection.

Sixth, biochar acts as a “liming agent” making soils less acidic. Biochar can effectively increase pH by 1 to 1.2 points.

Turns out the rice hull charcoal I mentioned previously is in fact bio-char !! Will post more info on the production methods for rural farmers and applications in the organic farming thread over the next couple of days as there would appear to be evidence that it can also aid legume innoculation and is improved by treating with compost-tea (a couple of subjects I have posted on recently, love it when everything just suddenly falls into place !!) as well as some info on mycorrhizal fungi and their importance in your soil.

cheers once again Carmine for the heads up !! Any other "left field" gems like this you care to share ??

Jandtaa


Come on guy don't give us this talk of left field I think you're somewhere out near "silly Off" or the"slip" with a "googley" or the "wicket Keeper" or somewhere out on that indecipherable world of the cricket pitch. Your not fooling anybody your just full of bullsh_t, micro-organisms and fungi and I'm sure you're proud of it. It definitely is an inspiration to many of us even if we may not know or understand all of it. I shall be anxiously awaiting your info for making bio-char from the rice husks. Also would the straw from the cut rice that is left over from the threshing machine be able to be used to make bio-char. thanks for all the posts and time you have given us and just keep on keepin' on you ol' sticky wicket. Can you imagine I wrote a three page article for a magazine on cricket???!!

#12 jandtaa

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Posted 2009-03-17 07:29:54

Jandtaa[/quote]
Come on guy don't give us this talk of left field I think you're somewhere out near "silly Off" or the"slip" with a "googley" or the "wicket Keeper" or somewhere out on that indecipherable world of the cricket pitch. Your not fooling anybody your just full of bullsh_t, micro-organisms and fungi and I'm sure you're proud of it. It definitely is an inspiration to many of us even if we may not know or understand all of it. I shall be anxiously awaiting your info for making bio-char from the rice husks. Also would the straw from the cut rice that is left over from the threshing machine be able to be used to make bio-char. thanks for all the posts and time you have given us and just keep on keepin' on you ol' sticky wicket. Can you imagine I wrote a three page article for a magazine on cricket???!!
[/quote]

Hi FF I think cricket (another game us Brits invented and are now totally shite at) is best explained thus :


There are two sides, one out in the field the other one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.

So I'm impressed you tried to enlighten your fellow countrymen !! My preferred position during a match is in the bar :o although I make a mean "silly point" !!

regards Jandtaa

Edited by jandtaa, 2009-03-17 07:34:32.


#13 Smithson

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Posted 2009-03-17 09:40:36

Another good thread with lots of info that's almost over my head. Regarding the burnt rice hulls, I've been mixing these with coco peat and manure as top soil. This is something I copied from nurseries. A 10 wheel truck of rice husks was 5,000 last year, but I think it could be cheaper in other areas.

Regarding the corn cobs, I've fed a few of these to worms and the seem to go down well. So if they're cheap and plentiful this might be worth considering.

#14 jandtaa

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Posted 2009-03-17 11:57:48

Another good thread with lots of info that's almost over my head. Regarding the burnt rice hulls, I've been mixing these with coco peat and manure as top soil. This is something I copied from nurseries. A 10 wheel truck of rice husks was 5,000 last year, but I think it could be cheaper in other areas.

Regarding the corn cobs, I've fed a few of these to worms and the seem to go down well. So if they're cheap and plentiful this might be worth considering.


Hi TT


yeah I noticed when I buy any potted ornamentals for the missus It's really dark compost, this would explain it. Get my husks from out the back of the small rice mill in the village for free, he only charges for the bran and broken rice and is more than happy for me to help keep his "waste" pile down !!

Just posted more info over in the organic thread on biochar

cheers Jandtaa 

#15 kraxlhuber

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Posted 2010-04-27 07:05:07

dam_n right it's up my street TT another organic possibility to pursue !! Maybe this one's the "holy grail" :) !! Maybe not but definitely worth exploring !! I've previously posted about rice husk charcoal and this looks along the same lines. Sorry if you find my stuff over technical I do try to post stuff that is easy to understand for a lay person as it were after all I'm one myself !! It's just my inquiring mind, I like to know the science behind the methodology and its the only way you can hold your own in an informed debate with conventional farmers and sceptics when it comes to organics, they need hard facts and science not "happy horseshit" as one poster so eloquently put it. Having said that I'm certainly not out to try and convert people, need my energy for other things and certainly don't feel I hold the moral highground. Each to their own afterall and as long as they dont pollute my land with their nasty chems good luck to them !! I reckon if many felt there was a financially viable way to convert they would !! Well where theres a will there's a way !! I'll just keep on posting and let people take from it what they will :D !!

cheers fella Jandtaa


hi green thumb,
just can you tell me why farmers,especially thai's, burn their rice field after harvesting(und drying the straw)??
I think its pretty wastful organic matters.
The burnt husk/straw has no value to the soil,as it is superficial,If tilted in the ground immediately,yes would make some sense,
Biochar is not burning straw ,agreed.
There is a kiln ,making small bricks in my town,from them I get loads of burnt rice husk.
I spread it around my lemon/orange/mango trees and also to my bananas,
Then I soak the (charcoaled husk with my homemade EM and cover with rice straw.
It takes time to convert the biofertilizer into something useful,but the blackstuff shows sign of green matters after a while,but need to be kept wet.

#16 WatersEdge

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Posted 2010-04-28 08:23:26

If anything of plant matter / field debris is cheap or free,
accept it, haul it and find a place for it.
If it requires additional nitrogen to break down the first year,
that nitrogen value will be available the second year,
it's fertilizer in the soil bank.
This delayed gratification farm logic is backward from the slash and burn dubious wisdom.
All plant material has some modest mineral content,
which otherwise would have to be purchased as fertilizer
If it is free...by all means TAKE IT.

If Corn cob is left out in the open weather,
in one year it breaks down nicely.
I left piles from the sheller sitting a year,
returning to find nice brown to black mulch

In another topic altogether,
corn cob is good bulk fuel for gasified engine fuel,
which coincides with the topic of biochar above.
If you have large consistent volume available,
you have potential generator or water pump engine fuel.
There is an open source group who have developed the equipment.
http://www.gekgasifier.com/
They sell a prefabbed unit suited to the one cylinder diesel engines,
Kubota, Yanmar, et al.
as well as provide the drawings for your own weldshop.

Corn cob also works well as deep bedding for animals
in the same was as rice hull are typically used.
Pigs raised on a 1 meter deep bed of absorbent material
are a fine method, also mentioned elsewhere on ThaiVisa Farm Forum.
In this way, the corn cob slowly decays as it absorbs animal waste nutrient.
With the result a fine fertilizer.
I've heard of a hog farmer who says he makes as much on fertilizer
as he does on pigs.





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