Fertilizer

Let us resume our work, palm oil groups urge Sabah govt

KOTA KINABALU: Palm oil groups today urged the Sabah government to consider allowing firms to resume operations for essential procedures such as harvesting, crop evacuation, and milling despite the nationwide movement control order (MCO) which has mostly shut down activity in the country.

In a joint statement, the Malaysian Palm Oil Association and Malaysian Estate Owners Association said there would be social impacts from the closure of operations in the state.

“The industry strongly feels that we can better contain the spread by continuing operations rather than curbing them,” they said.

hey said closing operations only highlights “the operational nightmare” in addition to the potential revenue loss of about RM860 million for a month’s closure in Sabah.

“The loss in 7.5% sales tax revenue to the government amounting to about RM57 million could actually be used to support the fight to contain COVID-19,” they added.

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal recently announced the closure in phases of palm oil operations in the districts of Tawau, Lahad Datu, and Kinabatangan.

He said this would begin with oil palm plantations before being extended to mills as well.

The three districts account for 65% of the total planted area of 1.2 million hectares and 75% of production in Sabah involving some 100,000 workers.

The groups said these workers would be left idle and confined to their quarters for long hours due to social distancing.

They said the workers might also leave to look for jobs elsewhere or attempt to return to their home countries, which would pose a threat to the MCO objective of containing the spread of COVID-19.

They also said the industry had committed to supporting the government in its battle against the virus by introducing and adhering to guidelines and SOPs at all estates and mills, including a so-called voluntary lockdown.

**Credit: FMT News

**Credit to featured image: freemalaysiatoday.com

Limestone mining in Surabaya

This is the process of mining our Limestone in Surabaya ready to be supplied to our potential buyers.

Limestone being mined in Surabaya

Mining conveyor belt to transport the limestone

Our Limestone mining process video in Surabaya

Stuffing exercise from Jakarta to Port Klang

This is the stuffing process of 100 metric tonnes of our product that is, Granular Zeolite from Jakarta to Port Klang for the month of April 2020.

This is the closed up look of the Granular Zeolite

This is the Granular Zeolite being bagged individually

The bagged Granular Zeolite is then shifted by hand into the container

Each bags is being arranged and stuffed neatly inside the container 

The stuffing is done by hand, to make sure the bags are neat, tidy with no damages

The filled up container is then ready to be shipped to our buyer in Malaysia

The effect of Covid-19 and Movement Control Order on agriculture in Malaysia

The novel Coronavirus or Covid-19 has been spreading across the nation in increasing rates daily. This virus has forced Malaysia to go under Movement Control Order since 18th March 2020. The Movement Control Order is a very crucial step taken by the government to avoid the spreading of the virus in Malaysia. Due to this, there are many effects on the economy, personal income and environment resulting from agricultural activities. Some of the effects are discussed below.One of the drawbacks of the Movement Control Order (MCO) is that most of the local and global trade markets are kept on hold. Locally, many farmers are facing a drop in income as their sales do not reach the targets. Small scale farmers are losing their income as there is not much demand for fruits at this point. Most consumers prefer to stock up food such as rice, bread and canned food during the MCO while fruits are often neglected. On a global scale, large scale farmers and traders of fruits are also experiencing loss as the import-export activities have been closed down due to the MCO.Next, many farmers are losing their optimum yield as they are unable to get their fertilizer on time for fertilizing the crops. MCO has urged the shops to be closed as a preventive method to avoid the further spreading of Covid-19 in Malaysia. Therefore, missing the fertilizing period, can cause a drop in yield for the farmers.

On the other hand, there are also some pros from the MCO as observed by the community. Due to the limited movement time and flexibility to buy daily essentials, many consumers tend to stock up on food. As for Malaysia, the most consumed food is rice and grains. Therefore, the demand for these food sources has increased due to panic buying.Other than that, since fertilizing and aerating new land for farms during the MCO period is impossible, the impact can be seen in the environment. There is less water pollution in the lakes surrounding the plantations. Also, since transportation is banned for transporting the produce to markets or other places, there is also a drop in air pollution during this moment.Lastly, although MCO may cause difficulties for some parties, we should understand that it is crucial to follow the rules of MCO by staying home and avoiding public places to curb the further spread of the virus. The economy can slowly be recovered later on, but lost lives cannot be brought back. Therefore, stay home and save lives.

 

Production process to containerization

This is the production process of our product Silicate Fertilizer from its production until containerization.

The production is processed in Korea and delivered to our buyer in Tawau, Malaysia. The process is as listed.

The process starts by processing the raw materials into Silicate Fertilizer.

Next, we pack them individually in their bag in an automated way.

After packing, each of the products is transported via the conveyor belt in the manufacturing line onto the pallet.

We pile the products in each pallet before automatedly cling wrap them.

Once it is clung wrap we forklift them and arrange them on each pallet in the warehouse.

The products are made ready to be stuffed into the container and shipped to our buyer.

A Scientific Analysis Of the Performance of Ulexite in Soil

Boron fertilizers have always been essential to the agriculture industry. Borate or Boron is one nutrient that all plants need and it cannot just be omitted from any fertilizer application process. The lack of Boron can lead to crops being less productive and appearing withered or diseased.

In recent years, there have been new innovations in the field of fertilizers, whereby slow-release and controlled-release fertilizers have been developed. These fertilizers have a slower release rate than more traditional forms of fertilizers. Slow-release fertilizers have an advantage over fast-release fertilizers as they are able to last longer and are less prone to leaching in soil.One research project has examined the rate of release and leaching of Ulexite, and we shall see the main findings of this paper with regards to the performance of regular Ulexite in soil and for agricultural purposes.

The concentration of Boron in commercial Ulexite

In the paper by Da Silva et al. (2018), the amount of total Boron in a sample of Ulexite from Argentina was 98 grams per kilogram. However, the water-soluble portion of this product was only about 74 grams per kilo. In effect, this means that only 7.4% of the total weight of the product is being released into the soil to be used by plants. This, of course, is only the results of one product, and Ulexite from different places may vary slightly.

Boron leaching from Ulexite

The leaching rate of a MOP (Muriate of Potash) blend with Ulexite was examined. The blend was applied to soil columns with different pore volumes (PV). Pore volumes were set at 2.5PV, 5PV, 10PV and 20PV. Water was then poured through the soil columns and the amount of Boron remaining was measured in order to determine how much of it was lost.

At 2.5PV, the leaching rate of the Ulexite blend was about 52.9 %. However, at higher PV values, the percentage of leaching became stable at 70.2%, 75.8%, and 77.8% respectively. This shows that Boron in Ulexite is highly soluble and can be lost at high degrees in soils with heavy rainfall and high sandy content.Uptake of Boron in Canola

In a study of the uptake of Boron by the Canola plant, it was found that soils with less leaching has plants that had a higher amount of Boron, and generally had higher shoot dry matter yield. This means that the Canola with less leaching in soils generally had a bigger mass and healthier growth rate. Canola is one plant that is sensitive to Boron content, and therefore is often used as a measure for Boron performance in soil.The Importance of Slow-Release and Controlled-Release Ulexite

In the study by Da Silva et al. (2018), we can conclude that regular Ulexite is prone to wastage to due soil leaching, with about 70-75% lost when rainwater washes it off. This is why the technology of slow-release and controlled release is so important to be used in the field, in order to conserve the Boron in Ulexite so that it really reaches the plant.

Reference

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328242323_Slow_and_Fast-Release_Boron_Sources_in_Potash_Fertilizers_Spatial_Variability_Nutrient_Dissolution_and_Plant_Uptake

Ulexite Market Trends for 2020 And Beyond

Boron and borates are a class of fertilizers that are essential to the agriculture industry. They are a major category of fertilizers, along with Nitrogen (N), Phosphates (P) and Potassium (K).  Commercially, boron is available in several natural forms. These include borax, Ulexite, Colemanite, and Boric Acid.

Boron and borate minerals are used in many fields, not just as fertilizers. They’re also widely present in the glassmaking industry, ceramics, detergents, and others. In fact, slightly more than half of the borate minerals in the world go towards the glassmaking. Only about 14% of all borate minerals are used as fertilizers. Among these is of course, Ulexite.Demand for Ulexite

Ulexite will continue to see a growth in terms of demand for the year 2020 and beyond. Ulexite itself provides borates to crops, which are micronutrients without any substitutes. Since Ulexite has no other material substitutes, and the demand for agricultural products is not expected to decline anytime soon, we will see the demand trend for Ulexite be pretty stable.

Agricultural demand for Borates stood at 14% in 2012 and is expected to rise by 1.48% in 2020, and a further 1.32% and 1.33% in 2021 and 2022. The forecasted production amount for the agricultural sector in 2020 is about 314,095 tons and this number is projected to increase slightly in the subsequent years to 326,860 tons in the year 2023, as seen in Table 1.

Table 1: Projected Boron Demand Forecasts (In B2O3 tonnes). Source: StormcrowThe recent COVID-19 pandemic around the world is not expected to affect the production and supply of Ulexite in Malaysia. This is because the production of Ulexite as a fertilizer is considered an essential service, as it pertains to the food and agriculture industry.Ulexite Pricing

The pricing for Ulexite has more or less remained stable, and shows only a slight increase due to inflation. In 2005, the documented price of Ulexite was USD250-USD300 per metric ton, and in 2020 we are seeing Ulexite being sold commercially for about USD300-USD350 per metric ton.

Thankfully, the pricing of Ulexite is not influenced by the price of raw materials, as Ulexite is processed mainly by mechanical means. In addition to the price of Ulexite being free from the heavy influence of raw material costs, there is also plenty of room for smaller suppliers to grow in the Ulexite supply business.

The Future of Ulexite

In general, there are several countries that are the main producers include South American countries like Bolivia, Peru and Chile. The main players in the Ulexite production field include Socomirg of Bolivia, Quiborax of Chile and Inkabor of Peru. However, there are many other smaller companies from other countries that can potentially penetrate the market and be successful. This is based on the simple fact that demand is steadily increasing and supply is always welcomed.

The market is definitely not saturated, and the usage of Ulexite is not limited to the fertilizers and the agricultural sector. The best way forward is therefore to vary your target market if you’re producing Ulexite into as many fields and industries as possible.

References
Stormcrow Industry Report on Borates (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/535e7e2de4b088f0b623c597/t/55365c32e4b09956c7c42fc0/1429625906212/Stormcrow-Borate+Industry+Report-Apr2015-Final.pdf)

Industrial Minerals and Rocks: Commodities, Markets and Uses
https://books.google.com.my/books?id=zNicdkuulE4C&pg=PA277&lpg=PA277&dq=ulexite+fertilizers+trend&source=bl&ots=NkvcC_E8w7&sig=ACfU3U2Gk-1qKgi4HSN1emrPfA57VDSDBA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwil34Czq7DoAhUQgUsFHSLJDFMQ6AEwGXoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=ulexite%20fertilizers%20trend&f=false

Composted and non-composted Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizer is considered free from artificially added chemicals and other elements that are harmful to plants. However, organic fertilizer, such as chicken or cow manure, users can either be composted or not composted. There is a difference between these two types of fertilizer. Fresh and not composted manure can be applied to plants that require a high level of nitrogen. However, applying fresh and not composted manure to plants possess a health risk.

The not composted manure contains bacteria and pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli. These bacteria and pathogens are in fact harmful to humans. Although they are not taken up by the plant roots, some of these bacteria and pathogens can stick to the plants and can be brought to the kitchen along with the plants. These can then enter the cooked food and harm humans. Also, some vegetables such as cabbages and salads alongside fruits are not cooked before consumption. Therefore, this can also affect consumers.

Dried and processed manure is sold in hardware stores. These types of organic fertilizers are safer in comparison homemade with non-composted manure fertilizer. However, if you wish to make the fertilizer at home, the following steps can be followed:

  • Make sure to dry the manure in high temperatures of 55 degree Celsius and above for at least 15 days
  • Another way is to dry the manure for 6 months to 1 year in order to kill the pathogens and bacteria

When properly composted, organic fertilizer made at home from manure can be very beneficial over the chemical-based fertilizers. It also helps save the cost of maintaining your backyard garden.

 

 

Regenerative Agriculture

We often hear issues on global warming, climate crisis, poverty and malnutrition happening around the world. Many are unaware that these problems can be lessened, if not solved, through regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture defines as a practice that can reverse the effects of climate change by helping to rebuild soil organic matter and by restoring the biodiversity of degraded soil. This in return, contributes to carbon drawdown and an improved water cycle.

Based on researches done by scientists, with the current rate of soil destruction, including erosion, desertification and chemical pollution, the public health and food supply chain is seen to deteriorate in the coming 50 years. It is expected that the food supplied will lose most of its nutritional values. Other than that, the lack of arable soil will cause a drop in the food supply, causing hunger around the less wealthy side of the world. It will also be impossible to keep the global warming conditions at below 2 degree Celsius and would lead to a loss of biodiversity.

Regenerative agriculture uses technologies that regenerate and revitalize the soil and environment, rather than damaging it by planting crops. This technology leads to a healthy soil condition that is able to produce high quality and nutrient-rich food. Regenerative agriculture incorporates permaculture and organic farming practices that include crop rotation, composting, using organic fertilizer, and organic farming practices to increase food production, income and most importantly, the quality of the soil.

Biodiesel – the fuel of the future

Biodiesel is the fuel produced from extracting oil from animal fats, plants or waste. Scientifically, biodiesel is called fatty acid methyl esters.Some of the sources of biodiesel include rapeseed, soya beans, and corn. Since some of these are also sources of food, there is a Fuel vs Food debate on biodiesel production from food sources. Therefore, a lot of research is being done on producing biodiesel from inedible sources. Some examples include sandbox seeds and cotton seeds.
Biodiesel is produced through esterification process of oil extracted from the seeds. Firstly, the seeds are cleaned and dried. Then, oil is extracted from the seeds via processes such as soxhlet extraction or by mixing the oil with sulfur dioxide. The oil extracted is then refined and esterified by a reaction between the oil and alcohol as the base. A catalyst can be used to enhance the reaction. The time and temperature depend on the type of alcohol and oil used. Once the reaction completes, the alcohol is evaporated using rotary evaporation.

The use of biodiesel is important as it comes from natural renewable resources. It also helps reduce carbon footprint where the carbon footprint emitted is countered by planting sources like sandbox seeds and cotton seeds for further production. Biodiesel is an important technology which can significantly help overcome the problem of fossil fuel and natural gas depletion. Therefore, more research is to be done to prepare biodiesel on large scales to overcome the depletion.