Fertiliser giant Nutrien reveals new partnership to explore sustainability solutions

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/Eloi_Omella
Image: Getty/Eloi_Omella

Related tags fertilizer agtech collaboration

CoteX Technologies, a Canadian agricultural technology start-up, and Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, have announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work on the joint commercialisation of a coating technology to produce an affordable, environmentally-friendly nitrogen fertiliser solution for large acreage crops in the North American market.

Nova Scotia-based CoteX Technologies said it has developed a low-cost, customisable controlled-release fertiliser coating that minimises environmental impact. The plant-based coating allows fertiliser to be slowly released into the soil over time, it claimed, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and eliminating potential residual material. 

“This MOU is a big step forward for the global agriculture industry,”​ said Santosh Yadav, CEO of CoteX Technologies. “We are thrilled to partner with Nutrien to explore the application of our product and the impact for the market.”

It is estimated over 110 million tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser is applied to crops worldwide every year. Nitrogen is required by every living cell and is a fundamental building block of plant proteins that improve crop yield and quality. Controlled release nitrogen fertiliser delivers this important crop nutrient while helping to minimise losses to runoff into waterways and diminish greenhouse gas emissions. “Our coating process is lower cost and more versatile than liquid coating and it’s environmentally friendly,”​ said Yadav. “Adoption of our technology helps minimize the loss of nitrogen into the environment.”

‘Potential to help farmers increase yield in a sustainable way’  

Saskatoon-based Nutrien is the largest producer of potash by capacity and one of the world’s largest producers of nitrogen and phosphate.

“We are excited to begin this journey with CoteX Technologies,”​ said Trevor Williams, EVP and President of Nitrogen & Phosphates at Nutrien. “This innovation has the potential to substantially increase efficiency in nitrogen application which will help farmers increase yield potential in a sustainable way.”  

Speaking to AgTechNavigator​, Yadav said the CoteX coating is “completely biodegradable and doesn't leave behind any microplastic in the soil which is a big problem right now. The coating process is 100% dry and instant and does not require any solvent or catalyst, making the process itself the most environment friendly coating technology in the world.”

Every coated fertiliser currently available in the market is made by a liquid coating process and produces non-biodegradable coated fertiliser, he claimed. CoteX Technologies, meanwhile, is ‘the only company in the world pursuing this patent protected technology’. “Our coated fertilisers can match the release of fertiliser with the crop nutrient uptake profile and we can manufacture these coated fertiliser products at a significantly lower cost than other coating processes.”

An affordable solution?

He added that cost was unlikely to prove a barrier for take-up among farmers. “The technology is unique in terms of improving the quality of the coated fertiliser products while reducing the cost. Our products can provide a season long nutrition with a single application of our products and these products can be customised for crop and climate conditions. Our cost of manufacturing is more than 80% lower than the competing liquid coating technologies thus making these products affordable for farmers around the world, including in developing countries.” 

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