By Nick Gilbert
BASF has inked a cooperation agreement with the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers (CRC-P) to develop a new class of high-tech polymers, which will facilitate farmers to better control soil wettability, nutrient delivery and water availability.
The five-year collaboration will reinforce the research and commercial efforts at Functional Crop Care, a unit of BASF which develops solutions to manage resource and stress in crop farming. As per the agreement, a team of agricultural scientists, biologists and material researchers from BASF will team up with major Australian research organizations.
Project partners will give special attention on a variety of polymers that can improve plant growth conditions in the soil. Prospective products include sprays for water-repellent polymers and soils that are capable of managing moisture distribution in the soil. Agricultural crops will be the focus of the lab and field trials.
The combination of very dry phases and intense rainfall for a shorter period in Australia is an ideal environment for this research. Business Director Crop Protection for BASF Australia and New Zealand, David Blay stated that 30% of cropping land in Australia is water repellent and yields a mere 10% of the country’s broad-acre crops. This project will be helpful to farmers in enhancing their productivity in these regions.
Head of Research and Development for Functional Crop Care, Dr. Markus Schmid stated that this collaborative work will further advance high-tech polymer research in the agricultural field, which is critical to fulfill the requirements of the future.
The Chief Executive Officer at the CRC-P, Dr. Ian Dagley stated that this cooperation is a significant step in developing technology and innovation guidance that shows the commitment towards farmers in Australia and worldwide.