Challenge Focuses On Fertilizers

Matt Wilde
By  Matthew Wilde , Progressive Farmer Crops Editor
(Matthew Wilde)

Winners of the recent Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge may help maintain and possibly improve crop yields while reducing the effects of fertilizers on the environment.

The EPA and the USDA teamed up to create a competition to enhance fertilizer efficiency and advance agricultural sustainability. Winners of the challenge submitted concepts for novel technologies that make nitrogen and phosphorus more eco-friendly.

"The goal of the challenge is to develop and use innovative and affordable technologies to reduce environmental impacts of modern agriculture on our air, land and water while maintaining agricultural productivity and profitability," says Wayne Cascio, acting principal deputy assistant administrator for science for EPA's Office of Research and Development, in a press release. "We are excited about the possibilities and continued new work in this area."

Tier 1 Solution Winners ($17,500 prize):

-- Christopher Hendrickson, Aqua-Yield Operations LLC, Draper, Utah, for a nano-smart fertilizer

-- Taylor Pursell, Pursell Agri-Tech, Sylacauga, Alabama, for "Urea 2.0," which replaces the conventional urea core with a customizable mixture of materials to provide fertilizers tailored to local needs

Tier 2 Solution Winners ($10,000 prize):

-- Kuide Qin, Verdesian Life Sciences, Cary, North Carolina, for using innovative mixture technologies to improve performance of industry-standard nitrapyrin for longer effectiveness, less nitrate leaching and prevention of farm-equipment corrosion

-- Catherine Roue, Fertinagro Biotech International, Portage, Michigan, for "Phosphate Liberation Booster" technology, which uses secretions from phosphate-starved plants to boost plant uptake so less fertilizer may be added and legacy phosphorus can be accessed

-- Chandrika Varadachari, Agtec Innovations Inc., Los Altos, California, for "Smart-N," which is a smart-fertilizer that releases nutrients on demand by the crop and creates a chemical "cage" for urea that dissolves into plant nutrients.


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