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HomeFarming NewsCompany making ‘sustainable’ fertiliser from poultry waste
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Company making ‘sustainable’ fertiliser from poultry waste

Australian Bio Fert (ABF) has successfully developed a series of biological fertilisers from poultry waste.

Technical experts from across the engineering and agriculture industries formed the company in July 2015.

They desire to “solve the problem of increasingly costly waste management and growing demand from farmers for crop nutrition products that lower input costs, increase yields and benefit soil health”.

With private investment and support from the Victorian poultry industry, Federal and State government grants and the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme, ABF developed a pilot plant, product development and research facility near Maddingley in Victoria in 2018.

This is where it now produces a series of biological fertiliser formulations to meet “growing demand” from farmers.

These are farmers who “recognise the benefits” of:

  • Increasing the plant availability of organic-based nutrients;
  • Carbon content in soil;
  • Restoring soil health.

Australian Bio Fert

Earlier this week, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers (IPF) announced that it would invest $38 million in acquiring a majority stake in ABF to progress the project further.

The cash injection will help construct Australia’s first largescale plant to develop and deliver a “new category” of sustainable fertilisers for Australian farmers.

The novel granular biofertilisers will combine torrefied organic waste materials with carbon and fertiliser products. According to the partners, the result is a “more sustainable” fertiliser that improves soil health.

A spokesperson told That’s Farming:

“Our innovative Australian technology creates a new product category for farmers, which we can now commercialise and take to market through IPF’s established and respected professional services and distribution network across the east coast of Australia.”

“Traditional practices of separate fertiliser and compost applications will be streamlined. The biofertilisers will allow crop nutrition needs to be met in a single pass with standard application equipment.”

The company will build a plant near Lethbridge, Victoria, that will produce up to 75,000 tonnes per annum.

According to the company, the project will deliver around 25 full-time jobs and other posts during the construction phase.

The company expects the project to commence in the second quarter of 2022.

Due to come online in mid-2023, the plant will enable IPF to recycle organic waste materials and develop products with consistent and “guaranteed quality”, free from pathogens.

In the meantime, its pilot plant will be upgraded to 100-120t/month, commencing work in February 2022.

Sustainable farming

Incitec Pivot Limited Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Jeanne Johns, said:

“Today’s announcement was an investment in sustainable farming of the future and part of a transformation of the fertiliser business into a soil health company.”

“This investment is a great example of the environmentally-friendly circular economy in action. It is part of a commitment to help our farming customers reduce environmental impacts while using our safe and effective products.”

“Together, we are creating important regional jobs and helping boost the Australian manufacturing industry and Victorian economy.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of domestic supply chain security. Projects such as this help ensure Australian companies can continue to service our critical agricultural industry and support Australian farmers,”

ABF chairman, Andrew Buchanan, said the partnership marked an “exciting” milestone for the ABF team. Furthermore, he believes it reflects the company’s efforts over the last three years.

“This innovative Australian technology creates a new product category for farmers. We can now commercialise and take to market through IPF’s network across the east coast of Australia.”

Streamline traditional practices

Furthermore, IPF President Stephan Titze views the investment as an “exciting” step forward.

Furthermore, he said it would add to IPF’s suite of products and services and meet the “growing demand” from Australian farmers for “sustainable, effective and practical” fertiliser solutions.

“We understand farmers need products that fit into their existing operations. These innovative products will streamline traditional practices of separate fertiliser and compost applications. Also, this will allow crop nutrition needs to be met in a single pass in 2023 and beyond.”

“We are excited by the doors this product range will open and the importance of actively looking for opportunities to enhance resource recovery and the sustainability of Australia’s food production system.”

The plant will enable IPF to recycle organic waste materials sourced predominantly from the poultry industry to develop products with consistent and guaranteed quality, free from pathogens.

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