Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New fertiliser ‘powered by batteries’

May 1, 2019 by  
Filed under News & Business

A multi-nutrient fertiliser launched in the UK last month contains zinc and manganese extracted from old alkaline batteries.

Called ZM-Grow, the award-winning product developed by Finnish manufacturers Tracegrow harnesses what is thought to be the only process that can transform zinc and manganese from depleted batteries to the necessary purity for fertilisers.

“The result is a highly flexible liquid fertiliser containing key nutrients for a wide variety of crops,” says David Harrod, owner of UK importers Badger Crop Nutrition.

“Because of its liquid form and foliar application, it can be a handy tank-mix partner for products like pyraclostrobin fungicide (Comet), florasulam/ fluroxypyr (Starane XL) herbicide or various growth regulators.”

While zinc deficiency is seen in 10-15% of UK field crops, often on sandy soils with both a high pH and phosphate status, manganese is the most common micronutrient deficiency. Sugar beet, cereals – especially barley – and peas are all prone to low levels.

Soil testing

Diluted from a concentrate, ZM-Grow is normally applied between February and June. Manufacturer Tracegrow recommends testing soils or crop leaves before deciding on timing and concentration levels.

Depending on crop type and requirements, and agronomist recommendations, 2-3 litres of concentrate are recommended per hectare. This delivers zinc at 120-180g/ha and manganese at 124-186g/ha – as well as 156-234g/ha of sulphur.

Because of its source material, ZM-Grow is classed as an organic fertiliser. Trials using 3 litres/ha in Västarkvarn, Finland, in 2017 produced a 350kg/ha increase in wheat yield and 900kg/ha in barley from a single application.

ZM-Grow received a gold medal at the 2018 Helsinki Agricultural Machinery Trade Fair, having been judged on significance for agriculture, impact on profitability and processes, environmental friendliness and energy efficiency, and impact on workloads and safety.

Badger Crop Nutrition is ZM-Grow’s sole UK distributor, and the product is available through the company’s UK partner distributors and farmer groups.

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