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BASF launches new solution to make non-wetting soils more productive

Dr Steve Jefferies, Managing Director, GRDC, William Huynh, Divine Product Manager, BASF, Professor David Mainwaring, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, Swinburne University, Rohan Ford, GRDC and Professor Daniel Murphy, Head of University of WA School of Agriculture and Environment at the 2019 Perth GRDC Update.
Dr Steve Jefferies, Managing Director, GRDC, William Huynh, Divine Product Manager, BASF, Professor David Mainwaring, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, Swinburne University, Rohan Ford, GRDC and Professor Daniel Murphy, Head of University of WA School of Agriculture and Environment at the 2019 Perth GRDC Update.

A new solution developed by BASF and industry partners will help farmers such as grain growers get the most out of land with non-wetting soils. BASF’s novel Divine® Agri and Divine® Integrate soil wetting agents will help Australian farmers produce higher yields in difficult conditions. A new research-backed laboratory testing process used with the agents will diagnose a customized application to produce accurate results in-field.

“Non-wetting soils limit the productivity of over half of the cropping area in Western Australia, almost a quarter of the total cropping area in South Australia and across areas of Western Victoria,” said Gavin Jackson, Head of Agricultural Solutions at BASF Australia and New Zealand.

“Non-wetting can take different forms and applying wetters has previously been mostly a matter of trial and error, hoping the wetter will be effective for the type of non-wetting soil present. This combination of a new testing process and flexible products introduces a much higher level of precision and certainty, giving growers the ability to invest with confidence to improve the productivity of affected paddocks.”

With the new solution, farmers with non-wetting soils can send samples to a specialised soil and plant analysis laboratory. The lab will then use a new patented “black box” soil testing technology to diagnose the type of non-wetting soil and recommend the most accurate application combination of Divine Agri® and Divine Integrate®. There are a total of seven potential combinations of products which will assist in pore filling for water saturation and infiltration increase in non-wetting soils.

The development of the Divine test and treatment technology is the outcome of extensive industry collaboration. Co-funded in part by BASF and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the majority of testing was led by researchers at Swinburne University, supported by the CSIRO, the University of New England and the University of Western Australia, as a part of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Polymers.

Ron Osmond, GRDC Head of Business Development, said the new non-wetting soils test and treatment technology represented an important development in the ongoing quest to provide grain growers with products and services that offer a potential solution to the agronomic constraints that limit profitability.

“Addressing non-wetting soils is a major issue for many of our grain growers,” Dr Osmond said. “This technology will provide a valuable new tool in growers’ toolbox to manage this problem.

“It is also a great example of a private-academic collaborative effort, facilitated by the GRDC, delivering tangible new technology for the benefit of growers.”

Jackson continued, “BASF’s investment in this research project is part of our commitment to support Australian farmers experiencing real and increasing challenges. Divine Agri® and Divine Integrate® are new, targeted solutions to our expanding portfolio, developed to help crops thrive under tough Australian conditions.”

Divine will be produced in Australia at BASF’s production site in Somersby, NSW, and is commercially available as of March 1, 2019.

Source: BASF Australia

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