New fertiliser – made from used batteries – to hit the market

A company in Finland has developed a new type of zinc and manganese-based fertiliser – made from ordinary, everyday alkaline batteries.

The multi-nutrient fertiliser is known as ZM-Grow, and will hit the market here this month.

It has been developed by Tracegrow in the northern European country, and will be distributed in Ireland and the UK by fertiliser provider Badger Consultants, based in Norfolk, England.

The fertiliser provides zinc, manganese, potassium and sulphur in a liquid form. The content is extracted from used-up batteries through a “special process” developed by the Finnish company.

According to Badger Consultants, this is the only process through which this can be achieved at the necessary level of purity for application as a fertiliser.

“The result is a highly flexible liquid fertiliser containing key nutrients for a wide variety of crops,” according to David Harrod, owner of Badger Consultants.

Tracegrow’s distribution partners highlight that, in the UK, zinc deficiency is observed in 10% to 15% of field crops – often on sandy soils with both a high pH and phosphate status – while manganese is the most common micronutrient deficiency.

Sugar beet, cereals – particularly barley – and peas are all prone to these deficiencies, the consultancy group explained.

Tracegrow recommends testing soils or crop leaves before deciding on application timing and concentration levels.

ZM-Grow is diluted from concentrate, and is applied between February and June.

Depending on a number of factors – including crop type, requirement and agronomists’ recommendations – it is recommended that 2-3L should be applied per hectare.

Trials in Finland in 2017 found a 350kg/ha increase in wheat yield, and 900kg/ha in barley, from a single application of the fertiliser.

The product is certified as an organic fertiliser, in accordance with EU regulations.

Badger Consultants is the sole distributor for ZM-Grow in Ireland and the UK, and is making the product available for delivery in 10L containers or 1,000L intermediate bulk containers.