Biochar has been successfully used in livestock operations as a feed additive and as a manure management tool. Using biochar as a feed additive is widespread in Europe; its use has been limited in the US due to the FDA’s feed additive regulations, but current research efforts and state level approvals have opened both pilot-level and production use.
The larger/more immediate opportunity for biochar-in-livestock-operations may come from the manure management aspect. No approvals are needed and there is a large body of research and experience supporting biochar’s benefits in bedding, manure management, anaerobic digestion, and compost. Most biochar will end up in the soil, where its benefits are supported by extensive research as well as being well established in practice. Biochar has shown to reduce ammonia levels and retain nitrogen compounds in manures and it provides increased water holding capacity and soil organic matter in soils. An additional benefit to an investment in biochar is its longevity—measured in decades to millennia—which also opens the potential for economic benefit from the developing carbon credit markets.