A FIELD trial of fertiliser boosted with micronutrients recovered from recycled alkaline batteries has been completed with the harvesting of a West Tambellup wheat crop.
Lithium Australia NL has advised the Australian Securities exchange that "field activities" conducted by its 90 per cent owned subsidiary Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd to test zinc and manganese from recycled batteries as a source of fertiliser micronutrients, were successfully completed on December 14.
Laboratory testing to determine yield, grain quality and size and an overall statistical analysis to assess the performance of the zinc and manganese micronutrients from the field trial is expected to be completed in the first quarter next year, it said.
As reported in Farm Weekly in November, visual assessments of the wheat crop trial sites throughout the growing season suggested a treatment using conventional mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) fertiliser boosted by micronutrients sourced from recycled batteries and applied at seeding, is at least the equal of commercial treatments.
Envirostream blended different rates of zinc and manganese derived from alkaline battery recycling with MAP for the trials on soils with a phosphorous deficiency.
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.
"The use of manganese and zinc, recovered from single-use alkaline batteries provides significant environmental benefits," said Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin.
"Lithium Australia and its subsidiaries are committed to providing the battery industry with sustainable outcomes and ensuring as many spent batteries as possible are recycled rather than ending their life-cycle in landfill."