Fertilizer

Granulated Ulexite: Where Does It Come From?

Ulexite is a source of Boron that’s commonly used in the chemical industry. Apart from being the main component of Boron fertilizers, Ulexite is also used in glazing, bleaching agents, glass production, flares and much more.

Ulexite is usually not a mineral that is found alone. Instead, it is usually found in combination with other forms of Boron, such as Colemanite, Tincal, and Kernite. The appearance of Ulexite is usually different from these other forms of Boron.

The mineral form of Ulexite usually takes on the appearance of a crystal mass that’s either clear or slightly cloudy. It can also appear as parallel fibers in certain instances.

Where is Ulexite mined in the world?

The mining of Ulexite, together with other Boron deposits, are regulated by the laws of each country. Thus far, Ulexite has been found mainly in Arid regions of countries like the U.S.A., Argentina, Chile, Russia, Peru, Serbia, Bolivia, and China.

Each year, the Boron mines around the world produce about 250,000 tons of Boron, which is equivalent to about 800,000 tons of Boron Oxide.

Ulexite is primarily found in Nevada and California in the U.S., as well as in the Tarapaca region of Chile and in Kazakhstan. Additionally, it is also mined in the Emet, Bigadiç and Kırka regions of Turkey where there’s a huge deposit of Boron.

The companies mining Ulexite usually mine other Boron minerals together with Ulexit and turn them into commercially viable products. Therefore companies usually do not mine Ulexite alone as Ulexite is found with other Boron minerals. As many as 230 different Boron minerals exist in nature, but only less than 10 are commonly found in Boron deposits and are mined commercially.

Ulexite is a Natural Borate Product

The minerals that come from Boron mines can be processed into many different products. However, Ulexite does not need to undergo any more processing. It is usually taken straight from the mines and the rock deposits are cleaned off using a machine.

Larger deposits of Ulexite are cut into more manageable sizes before they are put through a grinder to be ground into a powder. Different companies provide ground Ulexite powder of different sizes.

For a standard agricultural application, Ulexite is usually ground to 2-4mm in size. This is considered the standard size.

Ulexite can also be ground into a finer powder less than 50 μm in diameter. When ground, Ulexite resembles a grayish white powder that is about 35% Boron Oxide (B2O3) and about 20% Calcium Oxide ( CaO).

The Future of Ulexite

Ulexite is, unfortunately, a mineral that is not renewable. This means that once all the Ulexite in the world has been mined, we cannot produce more. The countries with the highest Boron reserves right now are Turkey and Russia.

It is therefore important for Ulexite and Boron mineral producing countries to consider recycling Boron from various wastes in order to produce a viable Boron source for the industries that need it, including the agricultural industry.

 

What are the most fertile soils around the world?

Fertile soil means a plot of soil which is able to grow crops. Soil fertility can be classified as high, moderate and low fertility. Highly fertile lands are the best to grow crops, especially food sources to feed the nation, while less fertile of barren lands appear desert-like or with fewer plants.

There are a few countries in the world that are considered the most arable. Being arable means that these countries have some of the most fertile lands in the world. Ten of the most fertile countries include Bangladesh, Denmark, the Ukraine, Moldova, India, Hungary, Rwanda, Comoros, Togo and Gambia.

There are a few types of soil that are considered highly fertile. Each type of soil consists of different types of nutrients that contribute to the growth and health of crops. Some types of soil are as follows:

Alfisols – Nearly 10% of the world’s ice-free land.

This type of soil is found in Western Europe and parts of North and South America, Africa, India, and Australia. It is a clay-based and relatively fertile with high aluminum and iron content soil.

Andisols – 1% of the world’s ice-free soil.

Andisols are found mostly in New Zealand, Northwest USA, Chile, Kenya, Indonesia, and Japan. This type of soil is formed from volcanic ash and highly fertile and ideal for crops.

Mollisols – 7% of the world’s ice-free land.

Found in Ukraine, parts of Russia and the USA, mollisols are some of the world’s most fertile soil. This type of soil includes black soils with high organic content.

Vertisols – 2.5% of the world’s ice-free land.

This type of soil is found in India, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa, and South America. With irrigation they support cereal, cotton, sorghum, and rice growing.

 

Government Aid, Incentives and Loans That Can Help Palm Oil Plantation Owners

Being a palm oil plantation owner is not all smooth-sailing. There are many challenges that require careful consideration and planning to solve. There are certain circumstances where you might need a helping hand.

The Malaysian authorities have been offering various programs to assist plantation owners. Most of these programs are for limited periods only. However, they are continuously offered in order to help palm oil growers to expand and maintain their business. These are some of the current programs that can help you:

  1. The incentive for MSPO Certification

Since the decision by the European Union to gradually phase out palm oil-derived biodiesel, efforts have been made to get Malaysian planters to certify their plantations with MSPO certification.

The Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil or MSPO certification will help make your palm oil more trusted and more easily marketed worldwide. The Malaysian government has allocated RM100million to help plantation smallholders obtain the MSPO certification.

Each oil palm smallholder can claim RM135 per hectare for certification cost, making the MSPO certification free of charge. However, this incentive program will only run until December 2019. After that, any cost in obtaining the MSPO will be borne by the planters themselves. Contact MPOCC for information on how to obtain the MSPO and claim the cost incentive.

Credit: MPOCC Website

  1. Replanting soft loan

In early 2019, the government announced that they were allocating RM550 million as a loan to help independent oil palm smallholders offset the cost of replanting. This loan is given via two programs, known as the Soft Loan Replanting Scheme (TSKPS) and Soft Loan Input Scheme for Smallholders (IPPKS).

Both loans have very low-interest rates of only 2% per annum. The repayment period is about 12 years or less.

The TSKPS scheme is specifically for replanting costs and offers up to RM10,000 per hectare of land. TSKPS is for smallholders with 6.5 hectares of land or less.

IPPKS offers a maximum loan of RM2500 per hectare and is meant to help planters buy seedlings, fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.

Details about both loans can be found on the MPOB website.

  1. Tax incentives for investing in oil palm biomass

When all the fruits have been harvested from an oil palm fruit bunch, the empty bunch is left over. In the past, it was just left to rot. However, this posed a serious wastage problem.

Therefore, the government has offered tax relief on companies investing in industries that use oil palm biomass ( including empty fruit bunches, logs from old palm trees, etc) to produce value-added products. The tax relief takes on several forms depending on the size and status of the company and can go up to 100% of the statutory income. For more information, visit this corporate tax incentives page.

Remember that you are not alone in your efforts to keep up the production rates of your plantation. Consultation and communication are key when facing a problem, and bodies like the Malaysian Palm Oil Board are always there to help you in various aspects.

Phosphorus Depletion and Wastage

Phosphorus is a crucial ingredient in many types of fertilizers. It is important to use phosphorus fertilizer. However, the use of phosphorus is extensive and the resources are very limited. There are only a few phosphorus mines in the world. Being a non-renewable resource, the amount of phosphorus is depleting due to the usage in the fertilizer industry.

There is no international institution to govern the usage of phosphorus in various industries. Therefore, a team of 40 phosphorus experts has decided to raise a concern and take action on the extensive use of the natural element in the various industries. According to the expert group, there are no international bodies designed to govern global phosphorus resources. Resources are managed by local or national authorities and often, regulations and technologies are not up-to-date.

This results in the over usage of this mineral affects both the existing phosphorus resource and also the environment. Although the use of phosphorus is very essential to crops, a large amount of it is still wasted into the environment. Phosphate runs off into lakes and ponds create an adverse effect on the environment. If not governed properly, the experts warn that the environment can highly be polluted.

The over usage of this naturally occurring mineral can also cause its depletion. If phosphate is depleted and inadequate to serve as the source in fertilizer, farmers will have a tough time growing food for the fast-growing population of the world. The usage of this mineral has to be closely monitored for two reasons: avoid depletion and to minimize its effects onto the environment.

 

Granulated Ulexite: A Mineral Borate Source Your Plants Need

Boron is an essential micronutrient that every plant needs. It has a diverse application in the plant’s daily metabolic system. As such, it is essential to ensure that your crops get enough Boron on a regular basis.

Boron deficiency can cause plants to develop severe symptoms such as weak and inadequate roots, empty seeds and fewer flowers during the pollination stage.

Nature offers us many sources of Boron which can be turned into fertilizers. Most of these sources are mineral and are mined naturally, rather than synthesized in laboratories. Some natural sources of Boron used as fertilizers include Granubor, Hydroboracite, Colemanite, and Ulexite.

What is Ulexite?

Ulexite is a white, grey or colorless mineral consisting of sodium-calcium and borate. It is named after a chemist called George Ludwig Ulex who first identified and analyzed this mineral in the 1800s.

Ulexite is most commonly found on lake beds, where they are purified from the surface. Ulexite is actually very popular among mineral collectors due to their fine, hair-like appearance and clear crystallized form.

In the fertilizer industry, it is processed into a powder or granules and usually applied alone to plants.  Its proper chemical name would be Sodium Calcium Penta-borate Octahydrate. It is easily soluble in water and therefore very suitable to be used as a Boron source for plants.

How can Ulexite benefit your crops?

  1. Slow-release

Ulexite is a very unique source of Boron for plants. Unlike other sources of Boron, it actually releases Boron very gradually upon uptake by plant roots. This allows Ulexite to function as a Boron source for a prolonged period of time.

  1. Low risk of toxicity

In most crops, the difference between plant Boron deficiency and toxicity is very narrow. Hence, it is challenging to know when you’ve over-supplied Boron to your crops.

The natural slow-release feature is also important in preventing Boron toxicity. This happens when there is too much Boron released at once from fertilizers and poisons the crops. The slow-release process ensures that a regular amount of Boron is supplied to plants at a healthy level rather than over-dosing them.

  1. No run-off issues

Ulexite is also considered to have a controlled solubility. This is very important in areas with a high amount of rainfall. In other sources of Boron with high solubility, Boron tends to leach into the soil and be washed away before it can be absorbed by the roots.

This tends to cause wastage and can pollute the environment. Ulexite does not pose any threat to the environment as it has very limited solubility in rainwater. It is, therefore, a very sustainable and environmentally friendly Boron fertilizer.

  1. Cost-effective

Ulexite has one of the highest Boron content and is very affordable per unit compared to many other types of Boron fertilizers. Everchem’s own Daebak Borate Fertilizer, which is Calcite Ulexite, has more than 45% Boron content which is considered premium grade Boron.

Make a difference in your plantation today by using Ulexite as your Boron fertilizer.

Diversify Your Oil Palm Plantation: 5 Things to Plant Besides Oil Palm

In recent years, the price of palm oil has been rather volatile and unstable. This is due mainly to the sharp drop in demand, caused by efforts from the European Union to ban palm oil-derived biofuels.

The Malaysian authorities have therefore been encouraging oil palm planters, especially smallholders, to diversify their crops.

Crop diversification is beneficial in many ways. For starters, they help offset and compensate any losses you may experience due to the instability of palm oil. They’re also good for the environment as different crops help maintain a better balance in soil nutrition and ecology.

Here are some crops and other enterprises you can consider incorporating into your plantation:

1.Durians

Malaysian Durians have garnered quite a good reputation overseas, and it is known for its good quality and taste. Malaysian durian species such as Musang King, D24 and Black Thorn are in high demand, especially in China.

China imports about 300,000 tons of durian each year. However, as of 2019, Malaysia only exports about 17,000 tons of durian there. There is definitely room for Malaysian growers to fulfill the high demand in China. Durians here can fetch a high price, whereby 300g of the fruit can sell for as high as RM180.

2.Pineapples

Pineapples may seem like a pretty unremarkable fruit. However, they’re being dubbed the new source of wealth for Malaysia because of increased demand for this fruit. Again, the main importer of Malaysian pineapples is China.

The Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board ( MPIB) expects that demand for these fruits will increase from RM155 million a year in 2017 to RM320 a year in 2020. Malaysian growers have been told to step up their game and meet the high demand.

  1. Bamboo

Many people do not know that bamboo actually fetches a high price in the market. There are more than a thousand bamboo species in Southeast Asia, and they are mostly used in construction and in the fabrication of bamboo furniture. One very tough and hardy bamboo species is the Betong bamboo, whereby one stalk can sell for up to RM200.

  1. Vanilla

Vanilla has a very high demand, and dried vanilla pods in Malaysia can sell for up to RM2000 per kg. However, cultivating the vanilla plant is challenging and requires a lot of dedication and commitment. Vanilla does not produce its pods until about 4-5 years after planting. However, when done right, the returns are enormous.

If you do decide to venture into vanilla planting, it is advisable to consult and work closely with vanilla farmers who already have a successful plantation.

  1. Stingless Bee Honey or Kelulut Honey

Although Kelulut bees are not really a crop or plant, they are truly worth considering. The demand for Kelulut Honey is on the rise in recent years. This is due to the medicinal values of the honey and the fact that it can be cultivated easily.

As long as there are flowering plants somewhere on your plantation, you can easily erect wooden honeycomb boxes. There are more than 30 species of stingless bees in Malaysia, and they all produce honey. The bees don’t need to be fed. All you have to do is provide them with water, flowering plants and a bit of damar resin from trees ( such as rubber, jackfruit, “cempedak”, etc) within a 2km radius.

After that, each honeycomb can sell for between RM300-RM500 each. This enterprise uses your plantation’s natural resources that are already there.


Image credit: Marufish@Flickr

Diversifying your oil palm plantation doesn’t mean neglecting your palm trees. Instead, you can ensure that your plantation enjoys a more sustainable future. Your income will be able to stabilize more too when you don’t depend solely on one crop.

Companies Offering Innovative Solutions

With the advancement of technology and innovation from companies, several companies have created innovative solutions that help manage manure while providing benefits to the agricultural sector. Discussed below are some examples of companies and their contribution.

CowPots

This company produces and distributes biodegradable and nutrients rich plant pot. These pots are made from the manure produced by the family’s dairy farm.

CHONEX

CHONEX utilizes black soldier fly larvae to convert chicken manure into organic fertilizer. Other than that, CHONEX also produces high protein poultry and aquaculture feed from manure.

N2 Applied

The technology developed by N2 Applied enables farmers to add nitrogen from the air to manure and convert the ammonia contained in the manure into ammonium nitrate. This creates a valuable organic fertilizer for plants.

Phinite

In turning manure into high value organic fertilizer and bioenergy fuel, Phinite has built a dewatering system using constructed wetlands.

Stuffing Activity via Vessel Max Kudo V N009 dated 3 September 2019

Some of Everchem’s business activity includes witnessing the stuffing of our product into the container before the container is being loaded into the vessel.

This time around we witnessed our Boric Acid is being stuffed on 3rd September 2019. Before it is being stuffed into the container, we make sure to clean each of the bags.

Vessel Max Kudo V.N009 is estimated to depart from Port Klang on 6th September 2019 and arriving Ho Chi Minh on 10th September 2019.

The quantity of stuffing is 20 MT/800bags. Each of the bags weighs 25kg. One of our personnel was present during the whole period.

At the norm, the stuffing activity is done at Port Klang. We will normally do our routine checks by making sure there is no shortage and to make sure that the stuffing process is done in an orderly manner.

At Everchem, we strive to give the best service to our client, hence frequent visit to this activity will be done from time to time to make sure the best quality and quantity of products ordered being delivered to our client.

 

 

Facts of Fertilizer

Fact 1: Fertilizers ensure that the soil is not depleted

Fertilizer act as nutrient providers to the soil for plants to grow healthily. Fertilizer ensures that the nutrients in the soil do not deplete when the plants are harvested. When plants are harvested, they take along the nutrients that the plants have absorbed from the soil during development. Therefore, it is essential for the nutrients to be replenished so that other plants can be grown on the same soil. Applying fertilizer to the soil helps to restore the needed nutrients.

Fact 2: Fertilizers are made of natural elements

Some important nutrients essential to the soil and plants include nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate. Nitrogen can be obtained from the air. One of the most common processes to produce fertilizer is the Haber process which utilizes air and hydrogen to produce nitrogen. Potassium can be obtained from old sea and lake beds and also known as sodium chloride, similar to table salt.

Fact 3: Fertilizers do not alter the plants we eat

Using fertilizer in agriculture and edible plants do not affect or change the DNA of the crops. Fertilizer helps to improve the plant’s growth and quality. The nutrients added are based on the property of the soil. The right amount, type and frequency of fertilizing can give a great impact on the health of the crops.

Looking Back at the World Fertilizer Trends of 2018

As we know, fertilizer usage and prices fluctuate, due to various global factors. These factors include economic elements, as well as climate, food prices, agricultural productivity and more.

The usage of fertilizers all over the world is always on an upward trend. This is due to the fact that agriculture is always expanding to meet the needs of the growing world population.

Which crops used the most fertilizers?

Good weather worldwide during 2016 and 2017 drove the production of grains to record high amounts. Grains like rice, wheat, corn and more are the main source of carbohydrates and energy to people across the globe. Therefore the grain-growing sector is the top consumer of fertilizers.

In summary, the top 6 crops using fertilizers are wheat, coarse grains, rice, total cereals, sugar and oil crops. The oil crops here include oil palm and soybean, among others.

What was demand like in 2018?

The demand for 2018 and subsequent years were predicted to increase. Indeed, the demand for fertilizers increased to about 200 500 000 tons towards the end of 2018. The demand in 2018 was actually more vigorous than previous years and grew more rapidly too.

This increase in demand was driven by the affordable prices of grains and other agricultural produce, which drove their production higher to meet growing demand. The growth in demand was highest for Potassium, which increased 1.8% year on year. This was followed by Phosphorus and Nitrogen which increased by 0.9% and 0.5% respectively.

Around the world, the highest increase in fertilizer demand was in East Asia and Africa, whereas demand in South Asia remained stable and unchanged. There was a slight drop in the demand in West Asia.

Fertilizer Supply in 2018

Fertilizer demand trends are balanced out by their supply trends. In 2018, the rate of fertilizer production surpassed demand. This is called balancing out the demand and in 2018, Nitrogen out-supplied demand by 9.8%, Phosphate by 8.5% and potash by 32.8%.

Although supply outstripped demand, sales of fertilizers actually increased by 1.4% in 2018 compared to the previous year.

A shift to eco-friendly soil health

2018 was also the year that the FAO started their ‘Save and Grow’ campaign as part of its vision to build sustainable agricultural practices. Through this campaign, they encouraged farmers to explore alternative ways to restore soil health and nutrients, including using crop rotation and recycling of organic waste as natural fertilizers.

This program did not truly affect the prices of fertilizers, which remained largely stable in 2018.

Fertilizer price trends in 2018

Most of the fertilizers surveyed in 2018 had either stable prices that changed very little or increased slightly as the year progressed.

Anhydrous ammonia was priced at USD512 per ton in August 2018 and decreased to USD496 by September 2018. Diammonium Phosphate or DAP was USD488 per ton in August 2018 and USD 506 in September 2018.

In general, the prices of fertilizer products were generally higher than the prices of fertilizers in 2017 by about 5% or less.

Outlook for 2019

Prices of fertilizers are expected to rise by USD 5-15 per acre, depending on the type of crop and location in the world. However, this prediction may change and fertilizer production costs depend heavily on Brent Crude Oil prices, which are currently rather unstable.