"Enhancing Productivity and Livelihoods among Smallholder Irrigators through Biochar and Fertilizer Amendments at Ekxang Village, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR." The Experimental Field Monitoring Plan
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"Enhancing Productivity and Livelihoods among Smallholder Irrigators through Biochar and Fertilizer Amendments at Ekxang Village, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR." The Experimental Field Monitoring Plan

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Seasonal variations in rainfall, increased mean surface temperature, persistent drought, reduced soil moisture, depleted soil nutrient, and crop failures have all been evidently linked to ...

Seasonal variations in rainfall, increased mean surface temperature, persistent drought, reduced soil moisture, depleted soil nutrient, and crop failures have all been evidently linked to anthropogenic-induced climate change. These changes influence shifts in ecosystem regimes inducing regional and global food insecurity issues. Water scarcity for agricultural productivity during the hot dry season in Vientiane Province of Lao PDR continues to be a major challenge among smallholders who rely on rainfed dominated farming systems for their livelihoods. Sustainable groundwater irrigation has being praised by stakeholders to have promising potential to contribute to the water scarcity needs of farmers. Good land use practices including agricultural activities can protect groundwater resources when land resources including soils are use judiciously and efficiently. One approach to use groundwater resources sustainably is to complement to what farmers in these areas are already doing to manage agricultural soils to enhance productivity. Given the interconnectedness between groundwater resources and land use for agricultural activities, managing soils sustainably through regenerative soil amendments to enhance and manage soil fertility and soil moisture for plants growth and development is crucial to ensuring the sustainable agricultural water management systems. This research seeks to improve soil quality by enhancing soil nutrient status and water retention through biochar amended soil systems relative to the common farming practices among smallholder irrigators in Ekxang village. The experimental study designed using the randomized complete block technique, which involves biochar treatments and replications on Morning Glory for one growing season. We hypothesized that rice husk biochar inoculated with cow manure and manure tea plus NPK and amended in soil will significantly increase soil quality by improving soil nutrient status and water availability, which will positively enhance productivity relative to the traditional farming practice.

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"Enhancing Productivity and Livelihoods among Smallholder Irrigators through Biochar and Fertilizer Amendments at Ekxang Village, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR." The Experimental Field Monitoring Plan Document Transcript

  • 1. Enhancing Productivity and Livelihoods among Smallholder Irrigators through Biochar and Fertilizer Amendments at Ekxang Village, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR FIELD MONITORING PLAN Jenkins Macedo, M.A., MSc., [2014] in Environmental Engineering & Policy Department of International Development, Community, & Environment Clark University Mixay Souvanhnachit BSc., [2015] in Irrigation Engineering Department of Water Resources Engineering/National University of Lao PDR International Agricultural Research Center Research Advisor Dr. Paul Pavelic, Hydrogeologist/IWMI Host University Advisors Dr. Timothy Downs, Environmental Engineer/Clark University Dr. Marianne Sarkis, Sociocultural Anthropologist/Clark University Monitoring Period March 31 – June 8, 2014 March 15, 2014
  • 2. ii Enhancing Productivity and Livelihoods among Smallholder Irrigators through Biochar and Fertilizer Amendments at Ekxang Village, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR Jenkins Macedo* Mixay Souvanhnachit** Advisors: Dr. Paul Pavelic, Hydrogeologist/IWMI; Dr. Timothy Downs, Environmental Engineer/Clark University; Dr. Marianne Sarkis, Sociocultural Anthropologist/Clark University. ABSTRACTª Seasonal variations in rainfall, increased mean surface temperature, persistent drought, reduced soil moisture, depleted soil nutrient, and crop failures have all been evidently linked to anthropogenic- induced climate change. These changes influence shifts in ecosystem regimes inducing regional and global food insecurity issues. Water scarcity for agricultural productivity during the hot dry season in Vientiane Province of Lao PDR continues to be a major challenge among smallholders who rely on rainfed dominated farming systems for their livelihoods. Sustainable groundwater irrigation has being praised by stakeholders to have promising potential to contribute to the water scarcity needs of farmers. Good land use practices including agricultural activities can protect groundwater resources when land resources including soils are use judiciously and efficiently. One approach to use groundwater resources sustainably is to complement to what farmers in these areas are already doing to manage agricultural soils to enhance productivity. Given the interconnectedness between groundwater resources and land use for agricultural activities, managing soils sustainably through regenerative soil amendments to enhance and manage soil fertility and soil moisture for plants growth and development is crucial to ensuring the sustainable agricultural water management systems. This research seeks to improve soil quality by enhancing soil nutrient status and water retention through biochar amended soil systems relative to the common farming practices among smallholder irrigators in Ekxang village. The experimental study designed using the randomized complete block technique, which involves biochar treatments and replications on Morning Glory for one growing season. We hypothesized that rice husk biochar inoculated with cow manure and manure tea plus NPK and amended in soil will significantly increase soil quality by improving soil nutrient status and water availability, which will positively enhance productivity relative to the traditional farming practice. Key words: water scarcity, Greater Mekong Sub-region, Lao PDR, smallholder farmers, IWMI, soil nutrient, water retention, rice husk, cow manure, biochar ªWorking abstract. *Main Author, M.S. ‘14 in Environmental Engineering & Policy student at Clark University **Contributing Author, B.S. ‘15 in Irrigation Engineering at the Department of Water Resources Engineering at the National University of Lao PDR
  • 3. Contents Abstract.........................................................................................................................................ii 1. Introduction...................................................................................................................................4 2. Research aims and Objectives.......................................................................................................4 3. Experimental Protocol...................................................................................................................5 a. Study Location & Population............................................................................................5 b. Experimental Units............................................................................................................5 c. Plant Selection...................................................................................................................7 d. Characteristics...................................................................................................................7 e. Treatments & Replications..............................................................................................12 f. Data Collection................................................................................................................12 4. Timeline & Monitoring Schedule................................................................................................13 5. Data Analyses..............................................................................................................................14 a. Hypothesis Testing..........................................................................................................14 b. Soil Samples....................................................................................................................15 c. Evapotranspiration & Soil Moisture................................................................................15 d. Crop Growth and Yield...................................................................................................15 6. Appendices..................................................................................................................................16
  • 4. 4 1. Introduction This field-monitoring plan will be used to record and document data in relation to enhancing soil nutrient status and water productivity, a component of an ongoing research project supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to enhance the resilience and productivity of rainfed dominated agriculture through sustainable groundwater irrigation. This research is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in collaboration with partners from the Water Resources Engineering Department (WRED) at the National University of Laos (NUOL), the Phonthong District Agriculture Extension Services located in the Vientiane Province and local farmers of Ekxang village. In the following pages, we provide detail plan for the collection, documentation, monitoring and evaluation of each of the major components of the field-monitoring plan. This is working draft and will be iteratively modified as the project progress to accommodate feedbacks and inputs from partners as well as account for changes from the field. 2. Research aims and objectives This research seeks to accomplish the following objectives: 1. To assess whether or not rice husk biochar inoculated with cow manure and manure tea plus NPK amended in soil increase soil nutrient status and improve crop yields relative to the traditional farming practice. 2. To assess the potential of biochar to improve soil water availability. This study also contributes to the overarching aim of the ACIAR supported research project that examines the technical and non-technical feasibility of groundwater irrigation in Lao PDR (http://gw- laos.iwmi.org/).
  • 5. 5 3. Experimental Protocol a) Study Location & Population The study is being conducted at Ekxang village located in the Vientiane Province, Lao PDR. IWMI has an ongoing groundwater research project, which seeks to enhance the resilience of rainfed-dominated agriculture through sustainable groundwater irrigation, which is funded by the Australian Center for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). Ekxang village is located about 52 kilometers from Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR and the village is situated within the Phonhong administrative district of Vientiane Province. Socioeconomic analysis through an intensive focus groups with 10 village members conducted by a team of social scientists at IWMI 2013 reported that the village is about 150 years old and is mainly composed of 3 ethnic groups namely: Hmong, Khamu and Lao Lum. According to IMWI’s socioeconomic teams, in 2013 the total population of the village was about 1,262 people with almost half of that population being females (269) with 235 households. i. Ekxang Village Infrastructures & Organizations Some infrastructures in the Ekxang village include a primary school, a market place, a health clinic, and several family owned shops and restaurants. The primary school contains 2 buildings with 10 classrooms and classes are taught by 6 teachers 4 of who are females with a population of 119 students. Most of the students at the school are from the village and nearby areas. The health center is located about 3 kilometers from the village and it is accessible by a partially paved road. Most of the households at the village have access to some kind of transportation mainly a motorcycle, which is one of the affordable means of transport apart from buses. There is a small market located at the village center and a bigger market located at KM52, a city just about 3 kilometers outside the village. The chief office is located at the center of the village. The village chief serves as the local government representative. Other organizations in Ekxang village include the police, soldier, youth groups, Lao Women’s Union, the elderly group, tax authority, monk, and health group. The religion that is commonly practiced in the village is Buddhism and there is a temple, which serves as the center for worship, culture and the celebration of Buddhist festivities. ii. Water & Land Resources Geologically, Ekxang village is situated at the downstream end of a 63.2km watershed of the Nam Hanm River, a tributary of Nam Houm within the Nam Cheng sub-basin (IWMI 2012). The watershed is located mainly in Phonhong district with a minor part in south-western Viengkhama district of Vientiane Province and the geographic coordinates is between 102⁰ 18 to 102⁰ 30′ (E) and 18⁰ 1′to 18⁰ 24′ (N). There are five main villages within the watershed: B. Ekxang, B. Phonthan, B. Nabone, B. Hongluay, and B. Nongkhone with a combined population of about 4,151 people (IWMI 2012). There are about 81 dug wells located in area, which provides water for domestic and other uses including irrigation. There is at least one dug well to every household in the village. There are few sources of surface water, which are mainly ponds. There are about 8 ponds located in the village, most of which get dry during the hot dry season (April-June). The main source for water for agricultural activities in the village is sourced from groundwater through NGOs or privately dug wells. However, groundwater use for agricultural productivity is still underutilized as most farmers rely on rainfall for farming.
  • 6. 6 Figure 1: Ekxang geology and Plot b) Experimental Units The Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of Vientiane Province and Ekxang geology suggest that the village is situated within an unconsolidated clay and sand of the Cenozoic Era. Gray clay, gravel, sand, kaolin, surficial laterite and sediments characterize the features of rocks and fossils in the village. Ekxang village is located at the downstream end of a 63.2km2 watershed of the Nam Hanm River, a tributary of Nam Houm within the Nam Cheng sub-basin. In this study, the selected study area is located within the village administrative area to assess the effects of different treatment plans on crop productivity relative to the traditional farming practice. The site selected is located within areas where IWMI’s groundwater project proposed the drilling of borehole wells at the village for the purposes to enhance the resilience of rainfed agriculture through sustainable groundwater irrigation and to test the treatment plans on a representative area of agricultural lands. The study area is located at the South of the village with total surface area of 16m x 40m (640m2 ) located between 18° 21.172' (N) to 102° 27.471' (E), which is located in the Vientiane formation and compose of gravel, shingle, sandy, kaolinite, and laterite. Figure 1 shows the geology of Ekxang village, the study area and the spatial representation of soil types.
  • 7. 7 Figure 2: Treatment & crop layout Figure 2 shows the site and treatment layouts. The site is located within close proximity to targeted areas for drilling borehole wells currently proposed for IWMI’s groundwater project. The site is mainly composes of silty clay and located in lowland areas where paddy rice was previously grown during the wet season. The site selected to experiment how organic soil amendments and fertilizer can be used to improve soils in lowlands to grow morning glory during the dry season. c) Plant Selection In this study, we selected one crop [Morning Glory] for the experimental trials to test the impacts of biochar-amended soils on soil nutrient status and water availability and how that enhances plant regrowth and yield relative to the traditional farming practice of cultivating the crop. Morning glory is leafy vegetable that is commonly grown during the wet and dry seasons by smallholders. Smallholder farmers usually cultivate the crop for subsistence and for sale to local middleman who than sell the crop to local businesses and restaurants in nearby areas. Usually before the harvest, the middleman and farmer negotiate the price of the produce at the farm after which the entire field is purchased and than harvest with the estimated cost of 42,000.00 Lao Kip/12kg. The middleman than sells the harvested morning glory at the market in KM52 and surrounding areas for a much higher price to generate profit. RH + RS = Rice Husk plus Rice Straw RHB = Rice Husk Biochar RHB + CM = Rice Husk Biochar inoculated with Cow Manure RHB + MT = Rice Husk Biochar inoculated with Manure Tea RHB + CM + NPK = Rice Husk Biochar inoculated with Cow Manure + NPK
  • 8. 8 i. Morning Glory Morning glory (Ipomoea aquatica) also known locally as pak bong ( ) will be cultivated across all treatment plots including the control. The crop has a strong resistance to lots of environmental stressors and is one of several vegetables commonly grown in the region. It is resilient to poor soil conditions and water stress. It can be easily grown and harvested within 14-16 weeks after germination depending on effective soil management practices. Morning glory seeds will be cultivated in 4 rows vertically across each raised-bed of 7m. The 4 rows will be guided by a string of building lines run vertically across the raised-beds to provide accuracy in seeds placement during direct planting in shallow furrows about 4cm deep. Each of the 4 rows of morning glory per raised-bed will be spaced at the distance of 10-12cm between and within rows. We will use about 2kg of morning glory seeds for the study at a rate of 6 seeds per hole. In order to improve the germination potential and reduce environmental stress relative to direct planting of seeds in the field, we will mulch each seeded raised- bed with available biomass preferably rice straw to reduce evaporation rate, enhance soil moisture content and reduce the growth of weed during the germination stage at least a week after planting. Morning glory seeds will be plant on March 31, 2014 and harvested on June 6, 2014. We will monitor the plant growth relative to each treatment plan and the control by selecting five subplots to be used as destructive samples (1m2 ) to measure plant growth. The crop will be fully harvested and measured (kg/m2 ) per treatment plot at the end of the trial on June 6, 2014. d) Characteristics The characteristics that will be assessed during the study are soil samples collected during the pre- treatment, treatment and post-treatment phases, evapotranspiration data, crop growth, yield data and inputs and outputs evaluation of the treatments [biochar] production relative to the local farming practices of vegetables production. The pre-treatment phase is when initial soil samples are collected before any treatment application, the treatment phase is the period when soil amendments are applied to the soil before directly planting of morning glory seeds, while the post-treatment phase is the period after the crop is completely harvested from the field and soil samples are than collected to assess the levels of soil nutrients, soil water availability, pH level and other essential nutrients (Appendix A). Soil samples will be analyzed through two distinct approaches; that is, the quantitative approach will involves the standardize collection of soil samples and follow by laboratory analyses of the chemical state of the soil and the Visual Soil Assessment (VSA), a semi-quantitative method will be used to collect soil samples and analyze the physical state of the soil. Evapotranspiration data will be monitored with the use of a weather station install at the field to determine daily reference evapotranspiration (ETc). We will use a range of mathematical formulation to calculate evaporation rate, temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature and precipitation. Soil moisture data will be assessed with the use of a soil moisture and pH meter. Crop growth and yields data will also be monitored during and at the end of the experiment to determine the effects of each treatment on productivity. In the following sections, I discussed each of the experimental units of the study in more detail. 1. Soil Samples
  • 9. 9 i. Standardized Approach The standardize approach will involve the use of the probabilistic random sampling to identify specific soil sampling points with the use of a grid soil sampling technique of 2m distance between sampling points for each of the sampling phases (i.e. pre-treatment, treatment and post-treatment). We will collect 5 soil samples from the site (15 for the entire study) during the pre-treatment, treatment, and post-treatment phases. All 15-soil samples per will be independently analyzed to determine trends or variations across the blocks. Soil samples will be collected at depth of 0-30cm because the potential rooting depth of morning glory is between 0-30cm. All soil samples will be analyzed at the soil laboratory at the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute for parameters listed in Appendix B. Soil cores will be analyzed to determine the bulk organic matter density. Excluding core soil samples, each soil samples per phase and by plot will be carefully dried and stored in specialized LaMotte soil sampling Ziploc bags. Information of each soil sample will the sample codes, extraction date, site ID, weight (g), and the name of the staff member who collected the samples will be documented on the Ziploc bag and recorded in an Excel spreadsheet. All soil samples will be sent to the soil laboratory at NAFRI for detailed chemical analysis or during the weekends samples will be stored in a fridge for a day or two to slow down biogeochemical reactions before being sent to the laboratory on the next business day. ii. Visual Soil Assessment Approach The assessment of soil physical state is paramount for sustainable plant growth, development and relevant for the efficient use agricultural inputs to enhance productivity. In this study, the VSA technique will be used to assess the physical state of the soil. VSA is based on the visual assessment of key soil ‘state’ and plant performance indicators of soil quality, presented on a scorecard. The physical state of the soil changes in relations to diverse soil management and land use regimes. Base on the smallness of each site and the criteria for conducting VSA assessment, we extracted two 200mm3 of soil sample per site with a spade and observed the topsoil in terms of its uniformity, including whether it is soft and friable or hard and firm in comparison with a protected area at the site. As a fundamental requirement of the VSA approach, we assessed the following soil physical state parameters as indicated on the soil scorecard, which provides visual indicators for assessing soil quality for annual plants, which include soil texture, soil structure, soil porosity, soil color, number and color of soil mottles, earthworm (number and size), potential rooting depth in meters, surface ponding, surface crusting and surface cover, and soil erosion (wind/water) as listed in Appendix B. 2. Irrigation Water Analysis, Evapotranspiration & Soil Moisture i. Irrigation System & Water Analysis We installed 10 Overhead Sprinkler Systems with 0-360° spray angle at heights of 2m. We decided to install the sprinkler at 2m heights above the garden proportionate to the sprinklers’ spray angle and radius to ensure equal spray coverage. It is important to monitor the spray coverage since we are interested in for water to be applied within or near the crop canopy and within rows. The sprinklers flow rate is 0.6-1.62m3/h and spray radius of 5m. Each sprinkler was installed at a distance of 5m apart providing an overlaying 360° spray coverage. In order to monitor sprinkler spray distribution and uniformity as possible, we will irrigate when wind speed to be =/< 5mph. Initial assessment of daily averages of wind speed during the late evenings 5:00pm-6:00pm is about 4mph. The farmer participating in the study will supply water for the irrigation system from his dug well at the field. An electric pump with the maximum flow rate of 25L/min will be used at to pump water into the fields
  • 10. 10 through hoses. Water meters are installed to record cumulative water use through in m3 for all on-farm operations including irrigation, biochar processing, tools cleaning, etc. Daily wind speed and directions prior to irrigating the field will be monitored with a mobile application. The HT20 data logger will be installed at the weather station to monitor daily relative humidity, dew point temperature and air temperature. We will test each sprinkler to determine the irrigation rate across the field. The data generated from testing the irrigation rate of each sprinkler head will be used to create a map that will illustrate distributions patterns of overhead sprinklers spray. We will adopt and modify the test procedure for determining the uniformity of water distribution of sprinkler spray developed by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE 1997). We will install series of collectors (preferably transparent plastic bottles) to measure the quantity of water applied to the soil for each overhead sprinkler after each irrigation event for 30-days. Each collector will be identical in size with height of 120mm and 60mm diameter. The collectors will be spaced uniformly about 3m for sprinkler spray along two perpendicular lines (Appendix N & O). We will also install a light color material at the base of each collector to reflect solar radiation and minimize the potential impact of evaporation. Irrigating when the wind speed is =/<5mph and with data on the irrigation rate per sprinkler, we can be sure to minimize the non-uniform distribution of water across the blocks making sure that water are applied efficiently and judiciously. In order to ensure that water at both sites are appropriate for irrigation purposes, we will collect 1 initial water sample of 1500ml following the standardize water sampling methods for a dug well for detailed laboratory analyses. We will also conduct daily tests to measure the levels of pH, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Specific Conductance (SC) and water temperature throughout the study. The decision to conduct detail chemical analyses of irrigation water quality once is due to budgetary and time constraints. Water from the privately dug well will be pumped water for about 10 minutes before collecting the sample and measuring the desire parameters. All field-based groundwater quality tests for irrigation for pH, TDS, SC and temperature will be conducted with the Hanna HI 98129 Combo pH, TDS, EC and temperature compensated instrument. The 1500ml water sample will be analyzed at the laboratory at the Department of Irrigation in Vientiane for parameters included in Appendix P. ii. Evapotranspiration & Soil Moisture We will use the crop coefficient (Kc) for morning glory 0.95 for the late season cultivation period (April - June) and at the irrigation application rate of 4mm/day. The irrigation rate for morning glory will be adjusted by measuring the daily evaporation rate provided by the evaporation pan (E pan) and precipitation. The crop coefficient for morning glory (spinach) for the late season was derived from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations irrigation and drainage framework. The potential rooting depth for morning glory is between 0-30cm. The evaporation pan will be installed at the field at about 5m from the crop based on the U.S. National Weather Service standardize installation for a Class A evaporation pan. The evaporation pan will be installed on a cement platform about 150mm height with 300mm diameter with a wire fencing about 1m height and a bird nest will be installed on the top to prevent birds from drinking the water. Evaporation pan measurement of E pan will be measured daily at 5:00pm and recorded on the data sheet in Appendix D. We will monitor the evaporation pan and adjust the irrigation rate using equation 1. The farmers at the site will be involved in other farm management processes, which will include weed control, pest management, ensuring farm security, and harvest. Because of the nature of data that will be collected, we will visit the field regularly (7days/week) at 7:00am 6:00pm throughout the monitoring phase of the project beginning March 31, 2014 to June 8, 2014.
  • 11. 11 A standardize 5” manual temperature magnifying rain gauge will be installed with the evaporation pan to measure recharge from precipitation. The rain gauge will be installed on a pole with 1m height and observe regularly. Recharge from precipitation will be measured in inches. We will install the HT20 humidity and air temperature data logger, which will be used to measure relative humidity, dew point temperature, wind speed and direction, and air temperature for effective irrigation scheduling. The instrument will be calibrated to record meteorological data every 2 hours daily until the end of the field monitoring phase. ETo = K pan × E pan [equation 1] Where ETo is evapotranspiration; K pan is the crop factor and E pan is the daily reference evapotranspiration data (Early, Mid, and or Late season). The designated K pan for lettuce according to the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries are 0.7, 1.0 and 0.95 respectively for all three seasonal production phases; that is, early, mid or late season. The K pan for morning glory (water spinach) is 0.7, 1.05, and 0.95 [early, middle and late] season. For this the current field trials, we will use late season crop coefficient [0.95] to calculate ETo. Formula (2) will be used to estimate recharge based on formula (1) in the event there is precipitation. Precipitation will be measured with the use of a standard temperature magnifying rain gauge install with the weather station and the HT20 instrument. After a precipitation event, the amount of water in inches added to the PE will be manually remove from the total volume of the evaporation pan to account for the recharge. This amount will be subtracted from the ET to account for the recommended recharge via irrigation scheduling. RC = ETo – P [equation 2] In this formula, the P is subtracted from ETo to determine if there is water debit or credit. RC is the recommended recharge; ETo is the total evapotranspiration derived from formula (1) and P is precipitation. The evaporation pan will be monitored daily to determine the level of water evaporated. We will randomly measure daily soil moisture and temperature readings from ten (10) points across the field and determine the average soil moisture and temperature. Field measurement of soil moisture will be collected with a high precision 99% soil moisture meter. Two sets of measurements of soil moisture (high and lows) from ten sampling points across the field will be measured. Both measurements will be averaged to determine the available soil moisture and temperature state. The average daily soil moisture measurement will be compared with evapotranspiration data to determine if irrigation should be scheduled. 3. Crop Regrowth and Yields The grazing of the morning glory by the free-range cattle at the village prevented us from collecting initial crop growth data. Given this challenge, we will collect crop regrowth and yield data during and at the end of the experiment to assess the impacts of treatments on productivity relative to the control. The destructive sampling technique will be used to select 10 subplots (Appendix R) with an area of 1m2 per subplot without reference to the treatment to minimize selection and scoring biases where destructive samples will be extracted to collect plant growth data by measuring the following parameters including fresh weight (g), root mass (%), root depth (cm), plant height (cm), leave count (#/plant), leaf color, number of shoot per plant, and leaf surface area (cm2) will be determined. Fresh weight will be measured by completely uprooting the crop from the subplot, washing off all soils from the root systems and measuring with a scale to determine the fresh weight of the crop (g). We will determine the root mass of each plant by counting the total number of root and calculate the
  • 12. 12 percentage. The root depth will be estimated by measuring the length of the root system with a measuring tape in cm to where it connects with the shoot system. Plant height will be determined by measuring the height of each plant to produce a graph, which shows the differences of plant height by treatment. The color of the leave will be determined by visually analyzing whether the leave of each plant is blue, brown, yellowish, green, pale green, or dark green. The color of the leave is important because it provides information on the deficiencies of certain essential soil nutrients especially Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorus in plant growth. The average leave count and soot per plant will be determined and will be characterized by counting the leave and shoot of each plant separately. This is significant because morning glory is leafy vegetable and the shoots and leaves are consumable. The leaf surface area will be determined by tracing the leave against grilled sheet of 2cm2 per square to determine the leaf surface area [note: 1 square = 2cm2]. At the end of the experiment, we will harvest the entire field to measure total crop yield with the below formula: Crop yield (kg/m2 ) = (amount of harvested product (kg)) x (crop area (m2 )) [equation 3] a) Treatments & Replications There will be 5 treatments with 4 replications for the crop (5 by 4 by 1 = 20) factorial structure will be administered in the experiment as shown in Figures 2 & 3. The selection of 4 replications to be conducted in the experiment is significant in order to determine variability across treatments and the control within and between each experimental unit. The control will be farming as usual, which involves the exposed burning of rice husk and rice straw together on the soil at least a week before planting. In accordance with local farming practices, the control will involve the burning of 1.5kg/m2 of rice husk with 1.5kg/m2 of rice straw on the soil with 4 replications across all blocks. The first treatment will involve the application of rice husk biochar (RHB) at the rate of 3kg/m² across all blocks. The second treatment will involve the inoculation 1.5kg/m2 rice husk biochar with 1.5kg/m2 cow manure (CM) across all blocks. The third treatment will involve the inoculation of 3kg/m2 rice husk biochar (RHB) with 4L/m2 manure tea (CT) across all blocks. The last treatment will involve the combination of rice husk biochar (RBB) plus cow manure (CM) inoculated with N.P.K (15.15.15) at the rates of 1.5kg/m²RHB + 1.5kg/m²CM + 0.23kg/m²NPK all blocks. All treatments will be thoroughly mixed in the soil at the depth of 0-30cm in relations to the potential root depths of the cultivated crop. Each treatment and replications will receive the same amount of irrigation schedule (4mm/day) depending on soil moisture and precipitation. We will test the soil nutrient and soil water availability, crop growth and yields during and at the end of the experiment. Local variety of morning glory (water spinach) will be cultivated as the trial crop due to its resilience to local environmental conditions, such as low soil moisture, high temperature and tolerance to diseases and insects. We are also interested to know how biochar amended in soil influence the productivity of these crops with varying treatments specifications. b) Data Collection We will make constant field visits at the site to monitor the project progress and collect data. The farmers will assist with other farm management processes and the collection of data. The farmers were provided on-farm training and demonstrations on how to use the field instruments to collect data points. Some data will be collected directly at the field with the use of handheld instruments, while others will be collected and sent at laboratories for analyses. A data log sheet will be posted at the field and protected from being damaged by rain for field data to be recorded on daily. We will make daily visits to the field immediate after applying the treatments and planting the crop to collect data and monitor the project. We will closely work with each farmer to make sure that the farms are secured and not vandalized. At the end of each week, we will log the data into an Excel Spreadsheet to start
  • 13. 13 preliminary analyses to identify trends. We will collect data on soil samples, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and crop growth and yields.
  • 14. 4. Timeline & Monitoring Schedule Date Key Activities Monitoring Description Milestones Responsibility MAR1-31  Complete producing biochar and inoculate with NPK, manure tea and cow manure.  Complete VSA soil physical state test at site B.  Conduct daily field irrigation water test at both sites for EC, TDS, pH and temperature and collect 2 (600ml) water samples.  Apply treatment at both sites.  Test the irrigation rate for each sprinkler head.  Install cups to monitor sprinklers spray distribution and uniformity.  Complete weather station installation.  Transplant lettuce and plant morning glory sees (March 28-29).  Mulch morning seeds for the 1st week with rice straw.  Record daily EC, TDS, pH and Temperature field water analysis.  Collect and analyze data on irrigation rate per sprinkler head.  Water samples sent to the DOI for detailed chemical analyses (Mg, Ca, and Na).  Mixay and I will collect post weather station data collection sheet at site A. Daily evapotranspiration data.  Crop growth and monitoring data sheets are posted at each site.  All treatment applied to each site.  VSA soil physical state completed for site B.  Completely mapped the irrigation rate per sprinkler head.  Water analyses completed by DOI and results are reviewed.  Both morning glory and lettuce are planted at both sites.  Morning glory mulched Mixay & Jenkins Jenkins & Mixay Jenkins, Mixay, Tadam & Tom Tadam & Tom APR1-30  Continue collecting field monitoring data (Appendices C&D).  Collect treatment 5-soil samples from each site and send to the lab.  Daily test of irrigation water for EC, TDS, pH, and temperature and collect (2) 600ml by April 15.  Continue collecting evapotranspiration, soil moisture & pH.  Conduct farm management practices (mulching, weeding as appropriate.  Use the smallholder irrigators farming assessment data sheet to assess the costs, benefits and challenges of agricultural productivity.  Select one random subplot per treatment at each site to monitor plan growth.  Keep collecting and entering field data.  Preliminary analysis of treatment soil samples, irrigation water samples and field test data, VSA data.  Complete the smallholder irrigators’ farming assessment data sheet.  Enter all data in the Excel spreadsheet.  Start monitoring plant growth and documenting other observations.  Have preliminary results on treatment soil, soil pH, soil moisture, temperature, EC, TDS, pH (H2O), SAR, Na, Mg and Ca.  Preliminary results on weather data including evapotranspiration rate, daily wind seed & direction, air and dew point temperature, relative humidity and precipitation.  Preliminary results of the costs, benefits and challenges of all agricultural inputs and outputs completed. Jenkins Jenkins Jenkins Jenkins MAY1-31  Continue collecting field monitoring data (water quality, soil pH, soil moisture & weather station data).  Conduct farm management practices as appropriate.  Measure plant growth in each subplot of lettuce mark according to treatment.  Harvest subplots of lettuce by May 28 and document data of total yields.  Make arrangements for oven to be used for crop regrowth data.  Collect and record crop growth data.  Keep documenting all other field data.  Document crop yield data by treatment.  Provide preliminary results of lettuce growth and yield data for lettuce.  Provide iterative preliminary results of all field data to date.  Revisit the costs and benefits analysis of agricultural inputs and outputs of smallholder irrigators in Ekxang. Jenkins Jenkins Jenkins & Mixay JUN1-30  Keep continue collecting field monitoring data (water quality, soil pH, soil moisture & weather station data).  Conduct farm management practices as appropriate.  Select one random subplot for morning glory to record plant regrowth data.  Harvest morning glory from one subplot per treatment on June 27.  Collect 5 post-treatment soil samples from each site.  Collect and record crop growth data.  Keep documenting all other field data.  Document crop yield data by treatment.  Send soil samples to the lab for detailed analysis.  Provide preliminary results of growth and yield data for morning glory.  Provide iterative preliminary results of all field data to date.  Finalize the costs and benefits analysis of agricultural inputs and outputs of smallholder irrigators in Ekxang.  Compare post-treatment soil results with treatment soil results. Jenkins Jenkins Jenkins & Mixay JUL1-15  Finalize results and present findings at IWMI.  Share preliminary results with Dr. Downs and Dr. Sarkis.  Submit final technical and financial reports to Borlaug. Submit first draft of full academic thesis for review and comments.  Develop a brief academic paper for publishing. N/A  PowerPoint presented at IWMI and partners.  Technical and financial reports submitted to Borlaug.  Preliminary thesis submitted for review and feedbacks.  Paper for journal article drafted for comments/feedbacks. Jenkins
  • 15. 5. Data Analyses A range of different analytical and statistical approaches will be used to analyze each experimental unit in the study. The following is a description of how each of the experimental units will be analyzed. a) Hypotheses Testing The following hypotheses will be tested to achieve the stated research objectives. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be used to analyze differences between group means and their associated procedures, which include variation across the experimental units. The significance of using ANOVA is such that, it is useful in comparing or testing three or more means (groups or variables) for statistical significance. The analysis of variance will be used to provide statistical explanation of observed variations across each block and within each plot in relations to soil pH, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and soil nutrients status. Table 1 shows the research questions, hypotheses, tests statistics and applications that will be used in the study. Table 1: Research Questions, Hypothesis, and Tests & Applications Research Questions HYPOTHESES Tests ParametersNull Alternative 1. Does the application of rice husk biochar inoculated with NPK, cow manure and manure tea amended in soil increase nutrient status and improve crop yields relative to the traditional farming practice? HO : As a result of the application of biochar of rice husk inoculated with NPK, cow manure and manure tea amended in soil, there will be no significant difference in soil nutrient status and improve crop yields relative to the traditional farming practice. HA: As a result of the application of biochar of rice husk inoculated with NPK, cow manure and manure tea amended in soil, there will be significant difference in soil nutrient status and improve crop yields relative to the traditional farming practice. AnalysisofVariance (ANOVA) Soil pH (pH (H2O, KCl), %(NPK), CEC, % Organic Matter, Bulk density, % (CaCO3), Al+, soil temperature (°F), Fresh weight (g), Root mass (%), Root Depth (cm), Plant Height (cm), Leave Count, Number of Stem, Color of Leaves, and Whole Plot Harvest (kg/m2 ). 2. Does rice husk biochar improves soil water availability? HO : As a result of the application of rice husk biochar, there will be no significant difference in soil water availability. HA: As a result of the application of rice husk biochar, there will be significant difference in soil water availability. Analysisof Variance (ANOVA) Soil pH (pH (H2O, KCl), Soil Moisture, EC, SAR, TDS, ETc, temperature (°F), H20 % by Mass, %TAW, WP%, FC%
  • 16. 16 b) Soil Analyses i. Soil Laboratory Test All soil samples will be analyzed at the soil laboratory at NAFRI for the chemical state of all essential soil parameters. The results from the laboratory analyses will be plotted into Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to conduct analysis of variance (ANOVA) to determine if there are any statistical differences in mean scores from soil laboratory analyses. Results from these analyses will provide statistical inferences to answer the hypotheses. ii. VSA Test The VSA approach will be used to analyze the physical state of the soil at each block during the course of the study. Results from this approach will be presented in frequency tables, charts and or graphs to illustrate the physical state of the soil at the study area. a) Evapotranspiration & Soil Moisture Evapotranspiration data will be calculated using the FAO evapotranspiration formula to determine if there is a need to adjust irrigation schedule. Soil moisture data will be analyzed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) through the analysis of variance (ANOVA) to determine if there are any statistical differences in mean scores with soil moisture status with each treatment. b) Crop growth & yield Data collected from field measurements of plant regrowth during the experiment and crop yield at the end of the experiment will be analyzed with Excel to determine trends in productivity against all treatments of the experiment and the local farming practice.
  • 17. Appendices
  • 18. 18 Appendix A: Research Procedure In this section, I will briefly explain how the research will be conducted to achieve each of the stated objectives relevant to answering all the research questions. The following bulleted points highlights some of the activities that will be conducted to achieve each objectives: Objective 1.1. To assess whether or not biochar of rice husk biochar inoculated with NPK, cow manure and manure tea amended in soil increase nutrient status and improve crop yields relative to the traditional farming practice.  We will collect treatment soil samples to assess the state of the soil nutrient.  We will randomly allocate plots at each site, which will be used to test the common practice of growing vegetables by first burning rice husk and rice straw on the soil.  We will produce biochar products from rice husk and cow manure with separate alterations inoculated with cow manure and NPK used as soil amendments randomly assigned to plots in each block at both sites.  We will collect treatment soil samples to monitor soil pH, electric conductivity and nutrients status.  Plant growth will be monitored throughout the study.  We will collect post-treatment soil samples to identify if there is any trend in soil nutrient status compare with previous soil analyses.  Data sheets will be left at each site and farmers trained to assist in data collection.  The analysis of variance will be used to compare whether or no there is statistical difference in the mean, standard deviation, standard error of the mean of all the parameters of soil nutrients status.  Measure crop growth and yield of both the control and treatments by determining the Fresh weight (g/plt), Dry weight (mg/plt), Root mass (%), Root-to-Shoot Ratio, Plant Height (cm/plt), number of leaves/plt, and Whole Plot Harvest (kg/m2 ). 3. Objective 2.1. To assess the potential of rice husk biochar to improve soil water availability.  We conduct a preliminary analysis of the levels of EC, pH, TDS, SAR, Ca, Mg and Na in the water sources to determine if it is suitable for irrigation purposes. These parameters will be regularly monitored during the experiment.  We will collect daily soil pH, soil moisture and evapotranspiration data to monitor soil water retention and adjust irrigation scheduling.  Data sheets will be left at each site and farmers trained to assist collect data.  Estimate the water % by mass, % of total available water in the soil, % of field capacity and wilting point.
  • 19. 19 Appendix B: Soil Samples Laboratory Chemical Analyses ***Daily field tests will include the following parameters: soil pH, soil moisture, and soil temperature. Item # Test Parameters Price/ Test Pre-Treatment Soil Samples (400g/sample) Treatment Soil Samples (400g/sample) Post-Treatment Soil Samples (400g/sample) Total Soil Samples to be Collected Total Cost 1 Organic Matter (%OM) (OC) 30.000 5 5 5 15 450,000.00 2 Total Nitrogen (N) 35.000 5 5 5 15 525,000.00 3 Total Phosphorous (P) 35.000 5 5 5 15 525,000.00 4 Total Potassium (K) 20.000 5 5 5 15 300,000.00 5 pH (H20, KCl) 30.000 5 5 5 15 450,000.00 6 % CaCO3 12.000 5 5 5 15 180,000.00 7 Cation Exchange Capacity 30.000 5 5 5 15 450,000.00 8 Service Tax 10.000 5 5 5 15 120,000.00 9 Grand Total N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3,000,000.00 Lao Kip
  • 20. 20 Appendix C: Visual Soil Assessment Scorecard Landowner: Location: Sample Depth: Soil Type: Drainage Class: Landuse: Coordinates: Date of Assessment: Soil Class: Textural Group (0-1m): Sandy Loamy Silty Clayey Other Soil Moisture Condition: Dry Slightly Moist Moist Very Moist Wet % Weather Conditions: Dry Wet Cold Warm Av., SOIL QUALITY INDEX ASSESSMENT Visual Indicators of Soil Quality Visual Score (VS) 0 = Poor condition 1 = Moderate condition 2 = Good condition Weighting VS ranking Soil texture x3 Soil structure x3 Soil porosity x3 Soil color x2 Number and color of soil mottles x2 Earthworms [Number = ], (Av. Size = ] x3 Potential rooting depth [m = ] x3 Surface ponding x1 Surface crusting & surface cover x2 Soil erosion [wind/water] x2 SOIL QUALITY INDEX [sum of VS rankings] Soil Quality Assessment Soil Quality Index Poor <15 Moderate 15-30 Good >30
  • 21. 21 Appendix D: DAILY WEATHER STATION DATA COLLECTION SHEET Station Location: Coordinates: Site Elevation: Distance from the field: Date Data Sampling Time (Hourly) METEOROLOGICAL DATALOG Daily Evaporation Rate (E pan) Crop Factor (K pan) Evapotrans piration Rate (ETo) Precip itation (P) Adjusted Recharge (RC) General Observation Ambient AirTemp (°F) DewPoint Temp (°F) Relative Humidity (%) GrainPer Pound(g/kg) Infrared MixingRatio WetBulb Temp(°F) Windspeed (mph) Wind direction E Pan Measurement (inch) EarlySeason MidSeason LateSeason ETo = K pan X E pan (inch) RC = P- ETo
  • 22. 22 Appendix E: DAILY FIELD MONITORING DATA SHEET Site ID: Treatment Specification: Date Crop Type Soil Moist Soil Temp Soil pH Irrigati onRate Farm Management Processes Soil Sample 2 x 10 x 2 = 40 Depth: (0-30cm) 200g/7m2 or 8m2 Plant Regrowth Record 1m2 /Treatment Plan Whole Field Harvest Kg/m2 General Observations (%) (°F) (4mm/m) Sowed? (Y/N) Mulched? (Y/N) Weeded? (Y/N) Top- dressed? (Y/N) Disease/ Insect (Y/N) Sprayed (Y/N) Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4 Fresh Weight(g) Dried Weight (mg) RootMass (%) Plant Height(cm) TotalLeave Count Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4
  • 23. 23 Appendix F: Smallholder Irrigators’ Farming Assessment Data Sheet Date Farmer’s Name Coordinates Farm Elevation TotalArea CropType Water SourceType Irrigation Scheme Estimated H2O/day Water Quality Depthof Groundwater Depthof Well AgeofWell Totalarea irrigated. LaborTime Setupcot CropYield SellingPrice TotalInputs Cost Gross Revenue NetRevenue Normalized NetRevenue #ofcropper year Monthsof croppingper year Pump? Daysof pumping/yr. X (m) (m²) N/A N/A N/A mm/m Good, Moderate, Poor (m) (m) Years (m2) Hours/day LAK kg/m2 Price/kg LAK LAK LAK LAK/m2 #/year Months/year Yes/No Day/year
  • 24. 24 Appendix G: Treatments, Rate of Applications & Irrigation Requirement # Treatment Regimes Rate of Application Irrigation Requirement Morning Glory 1 Control + Irrigation 1.5 kg/m2 of rice husk + 1.5kg/m2 of rice straw (RH+RS). 4mm/day 2 Rice Husk Biochar (RHB) + Irrigation 3kg/m²RHB 4mm/day 3 Rice Husk Biochar (RHB) + Cow Manure (CM) + Irrigation 1.5kg/m²RHB + 1.5kg/m²CM 4mm/day 4 Rice Husk Biochar (RHB) + Manure Tea (MT) + Irrigation 3kg/m²RHB + 4L/m²MT 4mm/day 5 Rice Husk Biochar + Cow Manure + NPK+ Irrigation 1.5kg/m²RHB + 1.5kg/m²CM + 0.23kg/m²NPK 4mm/day
  • 25. 25 Appendix H: Ekxang Village land use map & Sites Location
  • 26. 26 Appendix I: Ekxang Village Wells Locations
  • 27. 27 Source: Mekong River Commission, Lao PDR Appendix J: Relief Map of Vientiane Province
  • 28. 28 Source: Mekong River Commission, Lao PDR Appendix K: Relief Map of Ekxang Village
  • 29. 29 Source: Geological and Mineral map of Vientiane area, Scale: 1:200,000. Department of Geology and Mineral, MoNRE Appendix L: Geological Map of Vientiane Province
  • 30. 30 Source: Geological and Mineral map of Ekxang Village area, Scale: 1:200,000. Department of Geology and Mineral, MoNRE Appendix M: Geological Map of Ekxang Village
  • 31. 31 Appendix N: Collectors Layout for Monitoring Sprinkler Spray Distribution
  • 32. 32 Appendix O: Irrigation Sprinklers Layout
  • 33. 33 Appendix P: Irrigation Groundwater Parameters for Field & Laboratory Analyses Daily field tests of irrigation water will include pH, Electric Conductivity (EC), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and water temperature. All water samples will be sent at the laboratory at the Department of Irrigation (DOI). Item # Test Parameters Unit Cost Quantity Total Cost 1 Calcium (Ca) $6 1 $6 2 Magnesium (Mg) $6 1 $6 3 Sodium (Na) $7 1 $7 4 Potassium (K) $7 1 $7 5 Chloride (Cl) $7 1 $7 6 Sulphate (SO4) $8 1 $8 7 Total Nitrogen (T-N) $12 1 $12 8 Ammonium Nitrogen (NH4-N) $7 1 $7 9 Nitrate Nitrogen (NO3-N) $8 1 $8 10 Ortho-Phosphate (PO4-P) $7 1 $7 11 Bicarbonate (CHO3-) $7 1 $7 12 Grand Total N/A 12 $92
  • 34. 34
  • 35. 35 Appendix Q: DAILY FIELD MONITORING DATA SHEET Site ID: A Treatment Specification: Control + Irrigation 1.5 kg/m2 of rice husk + 1.5kg/m2 of rice straw (RH+RS) Date Crop Type Soil Moist Soil Temp Soil pH Irrigati onRate Farm Management Processes Soil Sample 2 x 5 x 2 = 20 Depth: (0-30cm) 200g/7m2 or 8m2 Plant Regrowth Record 1m2 /Treatment Plan Whole Field Harvest Kg/m2 General Observations Morning glory (%) (°F) (4mm/m) Sowed? (Y/N) Mulched? (Y/N) Weeded? (Y/N) Top- dressed? (Y/N) Disease/ Insect (Y/N) Sprayed (Y/N) Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4 Fresh Weight(g) Dried Weight (mg) RootMass (%) Plant Height(cm) TotalLeave Count Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4
  • 36. 36 DAILY FIELD MONITORING DATA SHEET Site ID: A Treatment Specification: Rice Husk Biochar (RHB) + Irrigation [3kg/m²RHB] Date Crop Type Soil Moist Soil Temp Soil pH Irrigati onRate Farm Management Processes Soil Sample 2 x 5 x 2 = 20 Depth: (0-30cm) 200g/7m2 or 8m2 Plant Regrowth Record 1m2 /Treatment Plan Whole Field Harvest Kg/m2 General Observations Morning Glory (%) (°F) (4mm/m) Sowed? (Y/N) Mulched? (Y/N) Weeded? (Y/N) Top- dressed? (Y/N) Disease/ Insect (Y/N) Sprayed (Y/N) Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4 Fresh Weight(g) Dried Weight (mg) RootMass (%) Plant Height(cm) TotalLeave Count Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4
  • 37. 37 DAILY FIELD MONITORING DATA SHEET Site ID: A Treatment Specification: Rice Husk Biochar (RHB) + Cow Manure (CM) + Irrigation [1.5kg/m²RHB + 1.5kg/m²CM] Date Crop Type Soil Moist Soil Temp Soil pH Irrigati onRate Farm Management Processes Soil Sample 2 x 5 x 2 = 20 Depth: (0-30cm) 200g/7m2 or 8m2 Plant Regrowth Record 1m2 /Treatment Plan Whole Field Harvest Kg/m2 General Observations Morning Glory (%) (°F) (4mm/m) Sowed? (Y/N) Mulched? (Y/N) Weeded? (Y/N) Top- dressed? (Y/N) Disease/ Insect (Y/N) Sprayed (Y/N) Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4 Fresh Weight(g) Dried Weight (mg) RootMass (%) Plant Height(cm) TotalLeave Count Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4
  • 38. 38 DAILY FIELD MONITORING DATA SHEET Site ID: A Treatment Specification: Rice Husk Biochar (RHB) + Manure Tea (MT) + Irrigation [3kg/m²RHB + 4L/m²MT] Date Crop Type Soil Moist Soil Temp Soil pH Irrigati onRate Farm Management Processes Soil Sample 2 x 5 x 2 = 20 Depth: (0-30cm) 200g/7m2 or 8m2 Plant Regrowth Record 1m2 /Treatment Plan Whole Field Harvest Kg/m2 General Observations Morning Glory (%) (°F) (4mm/m) Sowed? (Y/N) Mulched? (Y/N) Weeded? (Y/N) Top- dressed? (Y/N) Disease/ Insect (Y/N) Sprayed (Y/N) Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4 Fresh Weight(g) Dried Weight (mg) RootMass (%) Plant Height(cm) TotalLeave Count Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4
  • 39. 39 DAILY FIELD MONITORING DATA SHEET Site ID: A Treatment Specification: Rice Husk Biochar + Cow Manure + NPK+ Irrigation [1.5kg/m²RHB + 1.5kg/m²CM + 0.23kg/m²NPK] Date Crop Type Soil Moist Soil Temp Soil pH Irrigati onRate Farm Management Processes Soil Sample 2 x 5 x 2 = 20 Depth: (0-30cm) 200g/7m2 or 8m2 Plant Regrowth Record 1m2 /Treatment Plan Whole Field Harvest Kg/m2 General Observations Morning Glory (%) (°F) (4mm/m) Sowed? (Y/N) Mulched? (Y/N) Weeded? (Y/N) Top- dressed? (Y/N) Disease/ Insect (Y/N) Sprayed (Y/N) Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4 Fresh Weight(g) Dried Weight (mg) RootMass (%) Plant Height(cm) TotalLeave Count Plot1 Plot2 Plot3 Plot4
  • 40. 40 Appendix R: Subplots for Destructive Sampling
  • 41. 41 Appendix S: On-Farming Trainings & Demonstrations Enhancing Productivity and Livelihoods Among Smallholder Irrigators through Biochar and Fertilizer Amendments at Ekxang Village, Vientiane Province, Lao PDR. January 5 – June 7, 2014 On-farm trainings and demonstrations with farmers and project’s staff at Ekxang village: 1. Rice Husk Biochar Production  Metal-drum method  Earthen-method  Inputs & Outputs Evaluation of Biochar Productivity. 2. Rice Husk Biochar Processing (Post-Production)  Biochar + Cattle Manure  Biochar + Cattle Manure Tea  Biochar + Cattle Manure + NPK  How to keep biochar from wind/rain erosion.  Mixing biochar to other treatment options.  How to incorporate biochar in the soil to improve soil quality. 3. Irrigation Installation  How to install and uninstall overhead sprinklers.  How to monitor sprinklers’ spray coverage.  Installing spray collectors.  Measuring spray collectors’ content (mm) after an irrigation event.  How to document the data. 4. Soil Parameters (pH, Moisture & Temperature Meters)  pH  Moisture (%)  Temperature (°F) 5. Soil Sampling  How prepare the tools needed to sample soil.  When to sample your soil.  What methods are available (grid/zigzag)  Using a GPS unit to record point data where soil were sampled.  How to process soil samples.  Packaging and storing soil samples.  Taking the samples to the laboratory for detail analyses. 6. Irrigation Water Suitability for Agriculture (Hanna Combo Tester)  EC (uS/cm)  TDS (ppm)  pH (H2O)  Temperature (°F) 7. Weather Data (Evaporation Pan)
  • 42. 42  Precipitation (inches) recorded with manual rain gauge.  Evaporation rate manually recorded at the end of each day.  Wind speed (mph) & direction recorded with a mobile application. 8. Crop Growth Data  How to select subplots for destructive samplings without referencing the treatment plan.  How to prepare the subplots before uprooting the entire plant to collect growth data.  How to measure growth data, which include: plant height (cm), root mass (%), root depth (cm), leaf count (#/plant), leaf color and fresh weight (g).  How to record growth data.