Biochar Animal Feed: A Sustainable Approach for Livestock Farming

Nowadays, people are paying more attention to sustainable development and environmentally friendly practices. The livestock industry is also actively responding to this trend. Professionals in the livestock industry are enthusiastically exploring biochar animal feed, aiming to promote the sustainable development of livestock farming. So, how exactly does biochar relate to animal feed?

biochar animal feed for sustainable development

What is Biochar?

Biochar is also known as biomass-derived charcoal or charcoal. It is a black carbonaceous material generated during pyrolytic reaction at a high-temperature and low-oxygen environment. It is a stable carbon-rich residue left after volatile gases and liquids have been driven off during pyrolysis.

The quality of biochar depends on its primary biomass source, residence time, and temperature during the pyrolysis process. These factors lead to variations in the physical and chemical properties of biochar, such as pore structure, carbon content, elemental composition, and surface area. These characteristics further influence the overall applications of biochar.


Why Biochar Suitable for Animal Feed?

Some unique characteristics of biochar make it suitable for applications for biochar animal feed. Here are some characteristics and benefits of biochar.

Porous structure, huge surface area, and strong adsorbability

Biochar possesses a highly developed porous structure. These pores provide a large number of adsorption sites, increasing the surface area and enhancing the opportunities for contact with adsorbates. As a result, biochar is capable of capturing and immobilizing various chemical compounds through physical forces of molecular adsorption.

Alkaline pH

After pyrolysis reaction, cellulose, protein and fat in biomass form numerous functional groups such as carboxyl and carbonyl groups on the surface and inside of biochar. These functional groups, mostly alkaline in nature, contribute to the alkaline pH, buffering capacity, and facilitation of ion exchange in biochar.

Fiber structure

The fiber structure of biochar is primarily determined by the characteristics of its biomass raw materials. Biomass usually includes wood, straw, plant residues, etc., which inherently contain rich fiber components such as cellulose and lignin. In the pyrolysis reaction, the water and volatile components of the biomass are removed, while the fibrous carbonaceous structure is retained in the biochar.

Structure of Biochar

Great Benefits Of Biochar Animal Feed

Improve feed nutritional value

Biochar from biomass pyrolysis plant contains various micronutrients such as Ca, Mg, and Fe. These can provide additional micronutrients to meet the nutritional requirements of animals. Additionally, the fiber structure and adsorption capacity of biochar allow it to adsorb and retain a significant amount of water and organic matter. This helps improve the water-holding capacity of the biochar animal feed, increase its storage time, and reduce nutrient loss.

Enhance feed safety

Biochar has a strong adsorption capacity, which enables it to adsorb and reduce harmful substances in the feed, such as mycotoxins, plant toxins, pesticide residues, pathogens, heavy metals, and organic pollutants. This helps improve the quality and safety of the feed and reduces the potential harm caused by these harmful substances to animals.

Promote animals’ intestinal health

The alkaline nature of biochar gives it acid-base regulation properties. Therefore, biochar animal feed can adjust the pH value of animals’ gastrointestinal tract. The proper pH level can create an environment conducive to the growth of beneficial microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria and yeast, and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Consequently, it helps maintain the balance of intestinal flora. And it facilitates gut digestion and nutrient absorption and reduces the occurrence of animals’ intestinal problems.

Promote sustainable livestock farming

Biochar can adsorb and fix harmful substances. Therefore, biochar animal feed reduces methane production in ruminant animals’ rumen and minimizes the release of harmful gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animals’ feces and urine. This helps improve the environment on livestock farms, and promotes sustainable livestock farming.

Biochar Animal Feed

How to Apply Biochar to Animal Feed?

Applying biochar to animal feed requires careful consideration due to its potential impact on animal health. It is advisable to conduct appropriate research and testing to ensure its safety and effectiveness. Here are some suggestions and precautions for biochar animal feed.

Tip 1

First determine what effect you want the biochar feed to achieve, such as improving feed nutritional value, reducing odor, enhancing digestion and absorption, etc.

Tip 2

Choose high-quality biochar that meets relevant safety standards and regulations. Ensure that the biochar has not been contaminated with harmful chemicals or pollutants

Tip 3

Determine the appropriate amount of biochar in the feed based on the specific needs and nutritional requirements of the animals. The mixing ratio should be determined based on the animal species and feed formulation. It is recommended to start with a small amount and gradually increase the biochar content to observe the animal response.

Tip 4

Consider the suitability of biochar animal feed for different animal species. Its application may have different effects on different types of animals. Ensure understanding of the specific animal’s response and adaptability to biochar to avoid unnecessary risks.

Tip 5

Observe closely any changes in behavior, growth, diet, and overall health of the animals after consuming biochar animal feed. Monitor and record the animals’ responses to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of biochar in the feed.

Tip 6

Consult with veterinarians or professionals before applying biochar to animal feed. They can provide specific advice and guidance to ensure the safety and effectiveness of using biochar.



Biochar Animal Feed Is Popular in Europe

Because of its great benefits, biochar animal feed is widely used in the European livestock industry. Currently in Europe, biochar used in livestock farming is mainly used as an additive for animal feed, bedding of barns, and livestock manure treatment.

In 2012, Germany and Switzerland began using biochar on a large scale. At that time, Europeans had realized the benefits of adding biochar to animal feed. After this, the biochar market in Europe began to grow considerably. Since then, biochar feed has become more and more popular in Europe.

In 2016, the European Biochar Foundation (EBC) set a new biochar certification standard specifically for animal feed. It is a good way to control the quality of the biochar feed. This ensures that the biochar feed that enters the market complies with European animal feed regulations. Notably, the standard stipulates that biochar permitted for use as a feed additive must be made from untreated natural biomass.

In recent years, biochar animal feed has become increasingly popular in Europe. This is because people are increasingly pursuing sustainable development of livestock farming and high-quality livestock farming products. The trend is even affecting other regions. For example, the United States and Australia possessing developed animal husbandry have also begun to use biochar feed.

Biochar Animal Feed in Animal Husbandry

Leading Biochar Machine Manufacturer – Beston Group

Beston Group has realized the potential of biochar animal feed. We are dedicated to providing biochar equipment support and customized project solutions for investors interested in biochar feed projects. Moreover, we have related customer experience about biochar feed projects. We can offer professional advice on the production and safe application of qualified biochar feed. You can always contact us if you have any questions.

Biochar Making Machine


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