Addison Manning at Buck Bay Farms on Orcas Island was generous enough to share his fertilizer cost information with us in order to see how charcoal would influence the finances of his one acre farm.
The farmer spent $2,070 on fertilizer for one acre. If the calculations for the research data for Nutrient Retention studies held true, the farmer's fertilizer costs would be reduced by $1,269, for a total cost of $800.3.
These yield numbers are an oversimplification, as the yield data from studies does not align with all of his crops. Additionally, charcoal differs by location and its interaction in different soils. We are not predicting what would occur at his farm, only illustrating what these results would mean to this farmer's finances.
If yield increase data is averaged from the studies, he would see increase rates of 30% in the first year, 122% in year two, and 140% in year three. His return on an acre of land is estimated at $10,500 per acre annually. Thus the financial return on these yield increases would be $3,150 in year 1, $12,810 in year 2, and $14,700 in year three.
Farmer Cost Savings Per Acre
Then let's factor in the $100 the farmer spent on cover cropping. Tom DeLuca, the Director of the University of Washington School of Environmental Studies, published a paper on charcoal's increase of nitrogen nodulation in legumes. If his study held true, the farmer's nitrogen production would be enhanced by an average of 200% and up to 515%. That $100 becomes worth an additional $100 to $400 annually. To learn more about the study click here:
All totalled with nutrient retention, enhancement of cover cropping, and yield increase (utilizing low ends of each range) the value of the charcoal after year 1 would be $4,519, $14,279 in year 2, and $16,169 in year 3.
Do research results in other locations really mean this farmer on Orcas Island would save $16,169 by year 3? Right now we don't know. These papers were all published from credible universities. What if these numbers were even close to true?
If you would like to help be a part of further research and developing a market for charcoal, please contact us below.