Locally produced nitrogen you can bank on - Elders Rural Services
the-basf-somersby-team

Locally produced nitrogen you can bank on

With nitrogen fertilisers prices high and demand impacting supply, there’s another, natural option – make your own!

That’s what soil inoculants can do, making them an obvious choice for paddocks being sown with grain legumes in this phase of your crop rotation.

Both seed-applied (peat) and soil-applied in-furrow (granule) inoculants will boost the yield from chickpeas, faba beans, field peas, lentils, or lupins. Even better, they’ll leave a bank of residual nitrogen in the soil to feed following crops. The Australian Inoculants Research Group (AIRG) has previously estimated that using inoculants saves farms across the country about $4 billion every year. That figure will go much higher in the current market.

That’s a mighty good return on a surprisingly small investment, especially if you also save on labour by applying a granular inoculant through the seeder at sowing.

Of course, all farmers here and overseas face the same potential disruption to urea supplies. Should that cause an enormous spike in demand for inoculants, it may have a knock-on effect on inoculant supplies here too.

BASF is one manufacturer that doesn’t have to worry about international supply chains to deliver inoculants. Production is already being scaled up and the BASF team will be doing everything they can to help meet that demand.

Two years ago, the company completed a $1.6 million upgrade of their BioTech Solutions facility at Somersby on the New South Wales Central Coast, where the iconic Nodulaid® brand has been produced for decades.

BASF also make Nodulator®, a market-leading granular inoculant. Following the expansion of its production capacity, both Nodulaid and Nodulator are now entirely produced at Somersby. Now Elders’ customers all over Australia can be confident they are not competing with international customers for priority.

“We only started granular production in January 2020 and were able to meet the whole of that year’s demand in the first quarter,” says Somersby site manager Kathleen Johns.

“In 2021 forecasts were up, so we scaled up production and started processing orders early. There’s been another step up for this season because demand is so high. We’ll be supplying record quantities and – unless there’s a very big last-minute rush – expect to fill every order in plenty of time for sowing.”

The switch to local manufacture made Nodulator the first and only granular inoculant on the market that offers both the extra convenience and accuracy of granules and the added quality assurance of an AIRG Green Tick, showing that it has been independently tested and approved for use in Australian conditions.

For most growers who have always used peat-based inoculants, the Nodulaid® range remains the original and the best. It’s been around since 1953 – much longer than any of the alternatives – and the processes BASF uses to manufacture it and test its levels of active rhizobia have been regularly updated to ensure it remains the pacesetter.

“We’re proud of the heritage of this Somersby plant and the big investment BASF have made in local production,” says Ms Johns “and we hope Elders customers will continue to choose them because they know they can rely both on their quality and ready availability.”

Article written by BASF Australia for Seasons Magazine.

Enquire at your local Elders branch about which BASF product is right your your needs.

Find your local branch