Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Idaho have developed a new fertilizer that slows the release of ammonium and phosphorus in the soil—thus reducing the potential for nutrient leaching into groundwater, or nutrient runoff into surface waters. Phosphorus and ammonium are typically added to agricultural crops as fertilizers. Some agricultural and turf operations add these nutrients to the soil in amounts that exceed plant requirements. Excess nutrients seep into soil and groundwater, or run off into nearby waterways. This technology uses a slow-release component to allow gradual release of fertilizers into the soil. In green house studies, 80-97% of total phosphorus, and 75-84% of nitrates was reduced in drainage water. Coated fertilizers are available, but are much more prone to leaching compared to ARS’s formula. ARS’s slow-release fertilizer has advantages over available formulas, in that it greatly reduces the potential for nutrient leaching to groundwater. This technology could open a new market niche of environmentally friendly time-release fertilizers.
The agrichemical industry, particularly the fertilizer industry, could use this technology. Homeowners, turf managers, and possibly ornamental nursery operations would benefit from this technology. The end product formulations may require Environmental Protection Agency registration and approval.
ARS researchers are seeking a cooperative partner to help adapt fertilizer formulas to specific crop needs, and to develop a formulation that is easy to handle and apply.
Please refer to S.N.11/504,401 (Docket #0144.05), “Fertilizer Formulation for Reduction of Nutrient and Pesticide Leaching,” which was filed on August 14, 2006. Foreign rights are available.
Robert E. Sojka
Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research
Kimberly, ID 83341-5076
Phone: (208) 423-6565
Fax: (208) 423-6555 email@example.com
James A. Entry
(Formerly with ARS)