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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
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 fertiliser for farmers out of recycled alkaline batteries

TraceGrow has developed a sustainable, certified organic fertiliser product from micronutrients which it has extracted and purified from used alkaline batteries.

The firm claims that its range of fertilisers are “proven” to enhance crop productivity compared to traditional methods and reduce carbon emissions.

Just two years ago, it launched a new product, ZMC-Grow, marking the first step into expanding its circular economy fertilisers, which are “a highly environmental” choice for farmers.

Its development sprung from Tracegrow’s customers and a “clear” need for an ecologically “sound source” of copper micronutrients.

Its process works by separating micronutrients – such as manganese and zinc – from batteries and utilising these in fertiliser production.

Moreover, it also sources copper content from recycled copper.

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It says that the sulphate-based liquid concentrate is mixed with water and sprayed on plants, which allows the plant to absorb micronutrients directly.

It claims that the product is “suitable” for most plants, especially grass, wheat, oats and barley, and may have to be re-applied 1-2 weeks later – depending on lab results or visual assessments.

Trials involving farmers and sprayers indicate that the product resulted in increases of up to 1,500kg/ha (27%).

Benefits and features of the product – which is by farmers for farmers – the firm outlined include:

  • Mixes well with common herbicides, fungicides and other agri chemicals;
  • Flows smoothly out of the container because ZM-Grow is free from any solid particles;
  • Good mixing properties – does not block sprayer nozzle filters – easy to spray;
  • Increases crop yields by up to 27%;
  • Effective for organic and conventional farming;
  • Absorbs via plant leaves because it is a 100% sulphate solution;
  • Competitive price.

A spokesperson for the firm said:

“This is the first foliar fertilizer in the world made of used alkaline batteries.”

“Foliar fertilization with ZMC-Grow is an excellent way of correcting zinc, manganese and copper deficiencies.”

“It can also be used to coat granular fertilisers and seeds to give the plant an extra boost of nutrition.”

“ZMC-Grow is well suited for all farming as a foliar fertiliser, including organic farming. The added copper is especially well received by crops like oats and barley that use copper in their grain formation.”

The firm estimates that approximately 75-85% of batteries worldwide are alkaline, meaning that the raw material it requires is “abundantly available worldwide”.

The start-up firm says it has provided countries worldwide with a “much better alternative for landfilling”.

It reminds the public that batteries in landfill contaminate the land and causes greenhouse emissions and eutrophication. According to the company, one battery can spoil 167,000L of drinking water.

Its CEO, Mikko Joensuu, says that the company’s solution can “effectively” double the recycling efficiency for alkaline batteries compared to the options currently available.

In the coming years, it plans to expand into global markets and grow its range of circular economy fertiliser.

Currently, ZM-Grow is approved for use across Australia, the UK and the EU.

Other news articles on That’s Farming:

Yara cutting fertiliser output once again due to ‘record high’ gas prices

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