SeaPhos: Bridging chemistry and biology

BOP company’s innovation showcased at Fieldays 2024

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Pioneering New Zealand companies AgriSea and Fertco have joined forces to launch SeaPhos  – a farm fertiliser born from the ocean meeting innovation on the land.

Showcased at Fieldays Innovation 2024, the new product aims to disrupt the agricultural sector with a reduction in costs, rise in productivity, and enhancement of nutrient efficiency.

“SeaPhos has been a long time in the making, but we needed the right partners and team behind the innovation,” says Tane Bradley, Chief Innovations Officer at AgriSea.

“Our collaboration with Fertco has enabled us to create a product that truly bridges chemistry and biology.”

SeaPhos blends the rich nutrients found in AgriSea NZ Seaweed Biostimulants with essential phosphorus, sulphur, and calcium from Fertco. This environmentally friendly, granulated fertiliser supports both economic and environmental goals by optimising natural nutrient cycling within the soil and minimising the impact on waterways.

Clare Bradley, CEO of AgriSea, said the hybrid technology of SeaPhos offers sustained nutrient availability through a controlled release format.

This approach stimulates root growth and soil biology, enhancing nutrient uptake and soil function.

“This is about enhancing soil health and nutrient efficiency,” said Bradley. “It’s also about two companies with shared values, coming together in innovation.

“As we learn more about soil biology’s role in crop yields, we view SeaPhos as a crucial step towards helping farmers maximise productivity and profitability while reducing nutrient runoff and greenhouse gas emissions.”

SeaPhos’s granular dicalcic phosphate provides controlled phosphate release, leading to higher nutrient efficiency and lower environmental losses.

Its neutral pH of 6.6 is beneficial for soil organisms and prevents seed germination injury. Additionally, the reduced dust fraction from the processing of the product makes it safer for pilots who apply the product. The AgriSea Seaweed Biostimulant enhances nutrient cycling and soil health.

Both companies are founded in environmental goals, and while they are New Zealand owned and operated, they have a global perspective on Phosphorus efficiency.

A recent study published in Nature Food underscores the importance of efficient phosphorus use. The study suggests that more efficient phosphorus application could extend the life of limited fertiliser stocks to over 500 years, significantly boosting global food production to feed an expected population of nearly 10 billion by 2050.

Scientists from Lancaster University in the UK, along with AgResearch, and Lincoln University in New Zealand found that 30-40 percent of farm soils currently receive excessive phosphorus, with the most wasteful applications occurring in Europe and North America.

“Phosphorus is listed as a critical raw material by the European Union and is essential for optimal crop yields,” said Professor Phil Haygarth of Lancaster University, a co-author of the study. “We are unlikely to run out of phosphorus in the next 500 years, but only if we apply it as needed to produce optimal crop yields and stop wasteful over-applications.”

An Our Land and Water article recently shared how phosphorous is listed as a critical raw material by the European Union, and recently a topic of discussion by the United Nations Environment Assembly. Globally 20,500 kilotons of phosphorus are applied to agricultural soils each year as fertiliser.

Concerns have been raised about its limited supply and loss to freshwater where it can degrade water quality. Phosphorus predominantly comes from mining phosphate rock sources, of which there are only a relatively small number of sources located in countries like Morocco and Russia.

Driving innovation through collaboration was the goal for Fertco and AgriSea, in their quest to help address some of these challenges.

“For AgriSea, collaboration is key to fast-tracking innovation and reducing on-farm costs,” says Tane Bradley. “Sharing knowledge and skills has been instrumental in developing SeaPhos. Collaboration drives innovation and progress.”

Warwick Voyce, CEO of Fertco, added: “For 25 years, Fertco has focused on improving nutrient efficiency to minimise environmental impact. Our investment in granulation technology for dicalcic phosphate fertilisers allowed us to innovate further with AgriSea.

“Our shared vision is to help farmers grow more while using less.”

The companies are looking ahead to sustainable agriculture through SeaPhos’ benefits, including improved soil health, enhanced nutrient efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

“We believe its versatility makes it a valuable asset across various agricultural sectors, supporting sustainable practices and contributing to the industry’s long-term viability,” says Voyce.

- Advertisement -

Related Articles