Research for new Polymers for soil moisture management
German chemical giant BASF has announced a new cooperation over five years with the Australian CRC Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers to develop polymers to control soil moisture management, water availability and nutrient delivery. This step enhances the research and commercial scope of BASF’s new business pillar Functional Crop Care
An interdisciplinary team of material researchers, biologists and agricultural scientists from BASF will work together with leading research institutions in Australia. The Project partners will focus on a range of polymers optimising growing conditions of plants in the soil. Potential products include sprays for water-repellent soils and polymers controlling the distribution of moisture in the soil. The laboratory and field trials will focus on agricultural crops.
The crop growing conditions in Australia, characterised by very dry phases, coupled with bouts of intense rainfall, provide an excellent background for this research program. 30 % of Australia’s cropping land comprises of water-repellent soils and it produces only 10 % of nation0ps broad-acre crops.
According to Dr. Markus Schmid, Head of R&D for BASF Functional Crop Care stated: “Soils science is a widely underestimated key success factor, and partnerships like these lead to innovative, cost effective and sustainable solutions for farmers. This cooperation will further develop advanced polymer research in agriculture, an area that is crucial for meeting the needs of the future”.
CRC is a joint venture between companies, universities and government research organisations, and is supported by the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres programme. BASF’s research project forms part of the centre’s recently acquired AUD 14.5 million funding over five years and starts immediately. Further partners for this project include Swinburne University for Technology, University of Western Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, University of New England and Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC).