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Grace Breeding, a forward-thinking agricultural climate technology company developing biological-based products, recently unveiled the results of a field study conducted, in collaboration with University of Londrina (UEL), on maize in Brazil using its Proprietary Bio-Fertiliser (NFT) technology. The study, carried out with in-lab and greenhouse tests, showed maize plants using the NFT solution were superior or equal in every metric when compared to commonly used nitrogen fertilisers, such as urea, while reducing harmful carbon emissions.
Some 60% of the 1,17 billion tons of maize expected to be produced in 2023 will come from the United States (US), China, and Brazil. During production, the maize plant removes large amounts of nitrogen (N) from the soil, requiring the use of urea as a nitrogen fertiliser, which causes great environmental damage. The outbreak of war in Ukraine has made access to urea a major challenge for Brazil, which consumed around 7,13 million tons of the fertilizer in 2020. The need for large quantities of nitrogen to obtain high yields of maize has triggered public and private institutions to find alternatives.
Grace Breeding’s NFT alternative helps fill a major void in the food supply chain by offering an organic and biological substitute capable of drastically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. During the Brazil study, NFT was applied to maize plants and compared with other maize plants using standard urea fertilisers. The major takeaways from the study include:
- NFT showed greater speed during the germination process.
- NFT showed greater efficiency in the use of nitrogen as shown through the greater intensity of green in the leaves, leading to a potential nitrogen reduction of more than 50% in maize cultivation.
- Maize plants that were fed NFT released less carbon into the atmosphere, presenting it as a sustainable production system.
- Maize plants that were fed NFT demonstrated better water-use efficiency and therefore less water transpiration, or loss of water.
A previous study of NFT’s impact on wheat found that the formula is carried out at a dose of about 2,2 gallons per acre (20L/Ha.) and is applied only once on the day of sowing in the field. When compared to urea, which requires a spread of approximately three to four times during the cultivation period, Grace Breeding’s NFT solution proved to save both time and money.
“These promising results from our Brazil field study position our NFT product as the much-needed alternative to nitrogen fertilisers, and they allow farmers to reduce their ecological footprint both in air pollution and in water and soil contamination,” says Assaf Dotan, CEO of Grace Breeding. “I’m really excited to see what other crops that rely on nitrogen-based fertilisers stand to benefit from our NFT technology.”
“The NFT presents properties that stimulate the metabolic process of the plant—physiological, respiratory, and secondary-metabolic pathways — promoting greater growth and better development of maize,” says Prof Juliano Tadeu Vilela de Resende of the Agronomy Department at UEL. “I understand that this technology, based on preliminary results, may be responsible for a great advance in sustainable agriculture, with low carbon emissions, and promote economy in the use of water and nitrogen.” – Press release, Grace breeding