BASF, CRCP licenses soil wetting technologies in Australia

BASF, CRCP licenses soil wetting technologies in Australia

5:48 AM, 1st July 2016
BASF, CRCP licenses soil wetting technologies in Australia

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: BASF has licensed new soil wetting technologies co-developed with the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers (CRCP) to help Australian farmers improve water efficiencies and increase yields. The wetting agents are applied in a band to the surface soil directly above the seed, concurrently with the seeding operation, where they significantly improve water infiltration in the soil, reducing run-off losses and increasing the extent of moisture retention in the developing root zone.

More than five million hectares of Australian soils used for cropping are susceptible to water repellence. This water repellence causes rainfall run off, poor furrow efficiencies, patchy seed germination and therefore reduced crop yields.

In 2012, BASF commenced a five-year collaboration with the CRCP to develop a new range of polymers to help farmers better manages water and nutrients in soils.

The collaboration, which also received funding support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), brought together an interdisciplinary team of material researchers, biologists and agricultural scientists from BASF with experts in physical chemistry, soil and plant science, and biophysics from Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Western Australia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of New England. The research was led by Professors David Mainwaring (Swinburne University), Daniel Murphy (University of Western Australia) and Alexander Wissemeier (BASF).

The final stages of the collaboration involve further evaluation of the effectiveness of the technology in glasshouse germination trials, using a range of soil types, and field trials currently being conducted at wheat production belts in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.

“The research included laboratory studies on the effects of wetting agent formulation on the interaction of water with contrasting Australian soil types ranging from severely water repellent through to soils that showed only low water repellence. This led to the development of a new range of soil wetting agents and a diagnostic soil test, allowing farmers to select the most effective wetting agent based on the properties of their soil,” explained professor Wissemeier.

“The soil diagnostic developed in our research provides enhanced reliability to user decisions in the agricultural community based on soil characteristics and seasonal moisture expectations,” said professor Mainwaring.

“The new soil wetting agents will aid farmers by capturing rainfall that is plant-available while the soil diagnostic improves the reliability of the wetting agent selection to soil type. Together this will benefit the Australian grains industry by narrowing the gap between actual and attainable yield,” added professor Murphy.

“This is yet another example of the great value of the Australian Government’s CRCP. It has allowed us to address a major issue for Australian grain producers by assembling the best multidisciplinary team of researchers from across five organisations, and to provide our commercial partner, BASF, with technologies that it can readily make available to interested farmers,” concluded Dr Ian Dagley, CEO of the CRCP.

© Worldofchemicals News

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