Char is spread onto research plots at the Mitchell Ag Lab, several miles north of the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The fine power is spread with a golf-course spreader. Before it is spread onto fields, char is screened, eliminating larger particles and leaving a finer powder.
By Dave Ostdiek, Communications Associate
Panhandle Research and Extension Center
Scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) have begun a multi-year study into whether high-carbon char, a fine, powdery coal dust left over from the processing of sugarbeets, will improve the soil if applied to farmers’ fields.
Western Sugar Cooperative produces 35,000 tons of char each year as a byproduct at its sugar manufacturing plant in Scottsbluff. Western Sugar has plants and other storage and delivery facilities for sugarbeets in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana.