Lono Fertiliser Boosts Aussie Crop Yields, Cuts Nitrogen Use

Australian food producers have been trialling a new-generation fertiliser with promising on-farm results. Lono, a smart fertiliser developed by UK-based Levity Crop Science, is shaping up as an affordable and sustainable solution, reducing nitrogen input. Australian company ProdOz has conducted the trials with producers and industry agencies.

Crop science technologist Zenon Kynigos at ProdOz says farmers and agronomists have reported improved yield and soil quality and a reduction in pollution. “Lono has a strategic focus on reproductive growth, directing plant development towards flowers, fruits, and roots,” Kynigos emphasises. “It holds nitrogen in the amine form, offering benefits beyond conventional nitrogen fertilisers.”

Gaining ground in horticulture, Lono can also be used in broadacre crops such as wheat and cotton. And in Western Australia, the Galati Group has been trialling Lono over six vegetable sites for two years where it has delivered impressive results in potato, onion, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, and capsicum crops.

Co-principal Vince Galati says that the results have been very encouraging. “We’ve minimised our nitrogen inputs, the crop health has been enhanced and we’ve had better quality and yield and good healthy plant growth that is manageable. The trials have been extended to all vegetable sites and Lono is part of our R&D strategy to use less fertiliser.”

Costa Avocados national agronomist Craig Boyce said Lono had the potential to account for 15% to 20% of its nitrogen program, following trials conducted over the past 12 months at multiple sites. “We’ve seen improved yield and nitrate levels, and it will, no doubt, remain part of our nitrogen program,” he says. “We grow a range of crops with a range of agronomists and we’re all sharing learnings and opportunities in what is a price-conscious market.”

Australian trials of Lono delivered positive results in a range of crops. Ongoing trials of Lono are being conducted in south-east Queensland as part of water quality improvement programs delivered across a number of commodities with horticultural growers. These programs aim to improve on-farm practices to minimise environmental impacts and get the most out of every crop.

Agronomist Tim Walker at Walker Ag Consultancy, Tasmania, says that Lono can replace 20% of nitrogen used on potato crops. “A significant saving for the grower. The potential is there for Lono to become part of the regular nutritional program in potato production. It mixes well with fungicides and seems to work best in soils where nutrition is lacking.”

The implications of these trials are far-reaching. For one, the reduction in nitrogen input is a significant stride towards sustainable farming. Excess nitrogen in the environment is a well-known contributor to pollution, affecting water quality and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. By minimising nitrogen inputs, Lono addresses these environmental concerns while also promising economic benefits for farmers. Reduced fertiliser usage translates to lower costs, which is a critical factor in today’s price-sensitive agricultural markets.

Moreover, the improvement in crop health and yield reported by farmers and agronomists suggests that Lono could play a key role in enhancing food security. Higher yields mean more produce, which is crucial for feeding a growing global population. Enhanced soil quality also indicates long-term benefits, as healthier soils are more productive and sustainable over time.

The success of Lono in diverse climatic conditions and crop types underscores its versatility. Whether it’s the vegetable farms of Western Australia or the avocado orchards managed by Costa Avocados, Lono has shown it can adapt and deliver results. This adaptability is a compelling reason for its potential widespread adoption.

In conclusion, the promising results from the Australian trials of Lono highlight the potential of this smart fertiliser to revolutionise agricultural practices. By combining sustainability with economic viability, Lono offers a glimpse into the future of farming, where environmental stewardship and productivity go hand in hand.

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