INITIAL plant sampling from a Kojonup wheat crop field trials using fertiliser boosted with micronutrients sourced from recycled batteries, has proved promising.
Visually, plant samples taken at the end of last month from wheat plots treated with zinc and manganese derived from recycling of alkaline batteries, showed the treatments are performing well, according to Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd.
A problematic start to the growing season, with low rainfall initially on a difficult soil type, meant that germination was variable on some plots, Envirostream said on Tuesday in a statement issued by parent company Lithium Australia to the Australian Securities Exchange.
But the variabilty will be evaluated as a part of a statistical analysis of the trial early next year, it said.
Envirostream said the trial remains "on track" for completion in December, with results to follow in the first quarter next year.
As previously reported in Farm Weekly, Envirostream blended different rates of zinc and manganese micronutrients, derived from battery recycling, with conventional mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) fertiliser applied at seeding.
While fertilisers incorporating rapid-release micronutrients derived from alkaline batteries are available commercially in the northern hemisphere, Envirostream claims its micronutrients are slow-release variants tailored specifically for broadacre farming in Western Australia.
It hopes they will particularly suit the Wheatbelt's characteristic sandy soils low in zinc and manganese and provide growers with significant benefits.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin pointed to a potential dual benefit if the trials showed a significant yield advantage.
"Using material from recycled batteries to enhance fertilisers can certainly divert toxic materials from landfill," Mr Griffin said.
"Moreover, it has the potential to provide the fertiliser industry with more sustainable inputs to improve crop yields.
"The slow-release nature of the micronutrients produced by Envirostream could prove a real advantage in terms of local crop conditions."