New chemistries deliver industry’s first major innovation in decades

For the first time in more than 50 years, a new type of environmentally friendly, improved efficiency fertiliser containing chemical and bio technologies is being made available to UK farmers. With regulatory uncertainty for some current crop management solutions, leaders in the agrochemical industry will come together to discuss new developments at ‘The Ag-Chem Pipeline’ next week (9 October).

Nitrogen is vital to build plant proteins and increase growth, however it is thought that less than 40 percent of nitrogen in commercial fertilisers makes it to the plant.

“You either have a water soluble product that is leaked out, or locked up depending on the soil’s characteristic. Or you have something that isn’t water soluble and is hard for the plant to absorb,” explains Cyril Cappe, CEO of plant and animal nutrition specialists Timac Agro UK.

According to Mr Cappe, fertilisers such as single super phosphate (SSP), diammonium phosphate (DAP) and triple super phosphate (TSP) have been around for decades – and there has been very little innovation in the industry since then. Timac Agro UK has a team of over 100 R&D scientists working to develop new fertiliser technologies at the Roullier Group’s, their parent company, Global Innovation Centre in France. Their work takes into account the full crop cycle and focuses on the nutrient efficiency, rather than just the fertiliser’s nutrient quantities.

Patrick Allpress, farm director at Allpress Farms Ltd, who will be chairing the Ag-Chem Pipeline event, commented:

“New technologies play a huge role in commercial farming today, from advancing equipment to data and in developing agrochemicals. As farmers of leeks, wheat and beet, supplying major retailers, we work hard to select the right land and the best varieties to improve yields and quality, but without agrochemicals and fertilisers at the core of our growing programme we would not be able to achieve the most cost effective and sustainable crops possible.”

Recent grass and wheat trials of TimacAgro UK’s new TOP PHOS product show that it can increase yields by 0.5tonne and 0.76t per hectare, respectively. Mr Cappe explains:

“It is known that increasing the efficiency of the phosphorus uptake also increases the efficiency of the nitrogen transformation. So we have developed TOP PHOS, a new fertiliser technology that has a different chemical formula and a biological activity booster to better release nutrients to the plant.

“Rather than using more inputs, which may be wasted through inefficient uptake, we’re looking at how we can help farmers to grow crops in a more sustainable way – both from financial and environmental perspectives.”

Commenting on the development, Director of Agri-Tech East, Dr Belinda Clarke, said:

“For farmers, their focus is on reducing inputs while maximising the quality and quantity of their outputs.  We know farmers and growers are keen to be involved in the direction and implementation of trials of new technologies, such as fertilisers, which is exactly why events like this provide an opportunity to hear first-hand about the pipeline of agri-tech innovations.”

Timac Agro UK are based at the Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise, which developed the world’s first commercial mineral fertiliser, SSP, that led to the development of the modern plant nutrient industry in the mid-1800s.

Timac Agro UK will be joined by other large and small developers of next generation chemistries including Arlabion, Bayer Crop Science, De Sangosse, ECO-FP and Hockley Agro at Rothamsted’s Harpenden centre (AL5 2JQ) on 9 October, 4-7pm. More information about the event is available at www.agritech-east.co.uk/events

 

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.