HCF: High Carbon Fertiliser
The benefits of plant performance delivered by soil carbon have been long known, and apart from significant fast climate change and limitation of the availability of water, have been of great affect to ancient civilisations and modern indigenous groups today. In many parts of the world today we see unfortunately “soiloponics”, where each year fertilisers are added to the soil, usually sandy, across the world in general and in Australia in particular, and are consumed by the growth of this year’s crop or lost to the air, if volatile like ammonia, washed out to the sub soil below the crop roots, or swept away in topsoil in rain events, particularly in tropical areas.
We hope to change this paradigm by combining fertiliser ingredients necessary for plant growth with carbon based inputs which affect far more than just plant growth. They affect nutrient retention in the soil and then the availability of these nutrients and water to be available for the growth of plants. Better is that they affect the whole soil ecology, from the physical through the chemical (including NPK and trace elements) to the microbiological (fungi, bacteria & other microorganisms) and even the biological (particularly worms).
There is synergy between the coal, the biochar and the zeolite in the partitioning of water and nutrients. The zeolite is the most hydrophilic and acts as a sink for water. Although it doesn’t bind much water it has the capability to rob the polymer. It is also the sink for cations, exchanged in aqueous solution from the pores within its structure. The coal and the Biochar bind more moieties but do so by adsorption to their surfaces.
When you go back to soil and plant physics, it is surprising that the equations for the uptake of water and nutrients from soil to plants have a term “e”, the natural logarithm: “e” has the value of 2.71818…The particle size of the solids in HCF is just below 3mm so as to maximise these support pillars for plant growth.
Not surprisingly this also gives the best root growth as aeration determines root growth. The volume of roots determines all above ground growth, size, number, frost and drought tolerance of stems, leaves, flowers and includes the brix or sweetness of fruits. Root volume is affected by interactions with fungi, notably VAM, (vascular arbuscular mycorrhizae), or Rhyzobium bacteria in root nodules that fix nitrogen in legumes or in some other plants.
In general, the fertility of soil is a function of the fungi resident therein. You can see with the naked eye that HCF supports fungal growth & proliferation by the white mycelia that fill the spaces between the black carbon and biochar granules in the soil to which it has been applied. Microscopically the high surface area of the carbon inputs provides for the homing of bacteria, such as that facilitates their population growth. HCF is compatible with and adds value to:
2. Paunch or other abattoir wastes
3. Processed animal manures
4. Chicken litter or
5. Sterilised sewage sludge
Although HCF does not have high levels of
NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphate & Potassium) and Ca/Mg (Calcium and Magnesium) all that it has are available to plants, unlike the normal situation where only part is taken up by the plant due to losses as described above.
The formulation of HCF is well balanced, so not likely to become limiting by exhausting one particular inorganic nutrient ingredient.
There is debate about the role of Silicon in plant growth and defence of integrity from external agents, climatic viz hot >40C and cold < 4C, i.e. in frost, insect predation or microbial pathogenesis. Most likely it is in the ionised and soluble Sodium or more likely Potassium Silicate salts, that are efficacious in the HCF composition. HCF has a large amount of Silicon as Silicate, nearly 10%.There is a broad range of trace minerals in the HCF formulation, all of which are essential in the metabolism of living and for growth and reproduction. They too are retained in the carbon/biochar/zeolite matrix.Perhaps the most important feature of HCF formulations is that they are superparamagnetic with a Callaghan number of 980, just below 1000. There is some controversy of the relationship between this number and predicted effect on plant growth but the Biodynamic Farmers equate this with energy, in the same way that magnetic fields have a potential energy, superparamagnetic fields have a similar potential energy, translatable into improved growth.In the manufacturing process for HCF a cross-linked polymer is added immediately before the pelleting press. When these pellets are wetted as in the case of rain or by irrigation, they swell and break apart, releasing the pellet ingredients into the surrounding soil. The polymer then can take up any free water and pass it to any of the solid media which are more hydrophilic (i.e. loving water) than it is, especially the zeolite and the char, but also the brown coal.
At least 50% : Carbon Best environmental use of Carbon from brown coal
2.5% Biochar : Added benefits from increased nutrient availability
N, P, K = 1.05%, 0.26%, 0.67% : Balanced major nutrients
5% Zeolite : Improved CEC, Cation Exchange Capacity
Mg & Ca : Sufficient major plant nutrients
Mn, Fe, Cu, Co, Zn, Cr : Adequate trace Cationic elements
V, B, & Se : Enough Anionic elements
Si : Contains Silicon for plant health and strength
Increased water binding capacity : Improves drought tolerance. Reduces frequency required for watering
Adequate Air-Filled Porosity : Optimises root growth
Optimal particle size in soil : Maximises water and nutrient uptake by plants Polymer inclusion in mix : Fertiliser pellets expand & break up on water contact
Water retention in expanded pellets : Ensures nutrients’ solubility
MICROBIAL5% Superparamagnetic rock : Increases microbial growth and proliferation. Increases soil fertility. 940 Callaghan units of superparamagnetism. Highly energetic material stimulating all growth
COAL BASED FERTILISERS
Carbon – not less than : 50%
Silicon as silica : 9.4%
Iron : 1.4%
Total Nitrogen (TN) : 1.05%
Calcium : .87%
Magnesium : .87%
Total Sulfur (TS) : .67%
Potassium : .67%
Zinc : .27%
Phosphate (TP) : .26%
Sodium : .18%
Manganese : .16%
Chloride : .26%
Molybdenum : 13ppm
Boron : 11 ppm
Cobalt : 1.5ppm
Copper : 1.03ppm
Nickel : 1.0ppm
Vanadium : .65ppm