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Next-gen fertilizer tech can transform farm carbon environment

Next-gen fertilizer tech can transform farm carbon environment

By Andrew Joseph,

There’s fertilizer, and then there’s fertilizer.

Jeff Ivan, Chief Executive Officer, Soilgenic Technologies Inc., presented his company’s ag tech solution to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the recently held virtual 2021 Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase held November 16-18.

Soilgenic has developed what it calls “Climate Smart Technologies”—a next-generation enhanced fertilizer technology that makes nutrients more efficient while reducing impact to the environment.

Synthetic fertilizers have been feeding people for years, helping the population grow from 1.6 to 7.6 billion, he stated, with over 4-billion person fed by food grown utilizing some form of a synthetic nitrogen product. But, he pondered, how do we feed the 10 billion people who will be around by 2050?

Ivan, said that since Soilgenic’s mission is a commitment to aiding the world grow, it was only proper that it have solutions—Climate Smart Technologies—that will help farmers increase farm yields while reducing GHG emissions and environmental impact.

These climate smart technologies are being used to produce green ammonia and EEF (enhanced efficiency fertilizer) technologies.

Ivan discussed how there is increased pressure on farmers to produce, while at the same time being told it has to be done better than it has been in the past, environmentally-speaking. In North America, the ag industry has been severely affected by the mood swings of Nature, with rampant forest fires, flooding, drought and hurricanes. Faced with this annual reality, Soilgenics looks to its technologies to help make agriculture more sustainable.

Nutrients are being lost to the environment, which has contributed to climate change and other environmental issues. For example, pointed out Ivan, nitrogen fertilizers contribute up to 41 percent of nitrogen emissions into the Gulf of Mexico.

He reiterated that nitrogen’s off-gas N2O (nitrous oxide) is a potent GHG, and that nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer run off contributes to aquatic dead zones, and that non-stabilized nitrogen-based fertilizers can move through the soil and into groundwater turning it into a health hazard.

Knowing that, it is apparent that fertilizers need to be more efficient to reduce environmental loss and to increase fertilizer use-efficiency—up to 40 percent of all nitrogen used ends up in our rivers. As well, stated Ivan, up to 90 percent of phosphate is actually unused during the year of its application—giving it time to leach.

Despite the grim news, Ivan said that North America as a whole is actually very efficient in the manner in which ag uses nitrogen—banding it into the soil.

However, we still lose nitrogen, and with all of the global initiatives telling the ag industry to reduce GHG emissions, the tech industry needs to make its use more efficient.

Canada itself needs to reduce by 30 percent its emissions rate below its 2020 levels, and for farmers this is a real challenge; and then there’s high nitrogen prices caused by high natural gas prices, which in turn increases prices of fertilizer and it then comes crashing down onto the farmers and then puts added pressure on the consumer with increased prices—which is where Soilgenics comes in.

With a focus on upstream granulation and downstream retail distribution, Soilgenics provides an EEF distribution strategy that allows its customers to work within their own manufacturing and distribution network.

Aware that nitrogen loss can occur both above and below the ground, it has created products that will provide loss protection while still ensuring the crop is good—or better than good.

Citing an example of a farm using its NEON Surface fertilizer prescription for total protection, Ivan noted that corn grown during a trial in Brazil produced full cobs and at a higher bushel per acre yield—219.

Compare that to a below-ground nitrogen protector (195 bushels/acre); nitrogen above ground protector (184 bushels/acre) versus urea (176 bushels/acre)—using a nitrogen fertilizer at 241 lbs/acre across the board.

Technology works.

To learn more about how the Soilgenic line of high-tech, low-cost, high-yield, low environmental-impact fertilizers can work with you and your crops, watch the video below:

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