Exhaust fertiliser to make appearance at AgQuip

By: Carene Chong

Presented by

A unique system which feeds tractor exhaust into the ground for crop fertilisation will be on display at the Commonwealth Bank AgQuip field days, scheduled to commence on Tuesday this week.

Exhaust Fertiliser

The system was invented by New South Wales farmer Colin Harper and was officially released into the market about a year ago after four years of research and development.

Harper’s Exhaust Fertiliser system consists of a tractor mounted unit which is connected to a farm implement such as an airseeder or cultivator via rubber hosing.

Once the tractor is started and implement activated, the system automatically extracts exhaust fumes from the pipe and pumps it into the ground via the implement.

The Exhaust Fertiliser is built based on the concept that elements found in tractor fumes such as carbon (dioxide and monoxide), nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, iron and zinc are beneficial to crops and soil biology.

"Fuel is oil and oil is organic matter that’s just been buried and composted," Harper explains.

"We’re basically burning compost and putting it back into the soil, which is feeding plant matter to plant matter. For that reason, just about anything that is in the exhaust is beneficial to crops," he adds.

If an airseeder is used with the unit, the exhaust is pumped into the furrow along with the seeds. The process, according to Harper, helps speed up germination.

"Because we’re using exhaust to carry the seed down the tube, it’s actually coating the seed with all those beneficial trace elements in addition to warm moist air for quicker germination," he says.

By feeding exhaust into the ground instead of into the atmosphere, the system also helps farmers reduce their carbon footprint.

Harper says the concept dates back almost a century ago but no one has been able to come up with a commercially viable system until now.

Harper has been using the system for the past four years on his own farm in Ariah Park which produces canola, wheat and sheep.

Colin Harper

Riverina farmer Colin Harper standing amongst his canola crops which has been sown and fertilised only with the Exhaust Fertiliser system

"I haven’t used any synthetic fertiliser for eight years, and I’ve been using exhaust for the last four years and my canola crops this year have turned out excellent," he says.

"They are currently at their early flowering stage, and tissue tests have shown that the crop had all the nutrients and trace elements it needed," he says.

"A Solvita biological test revealed the soil is high in microbiology similar to a soil that had been treated with manures or green manure. "

"Because my soil is better and the grass growing from it is healthier, I reckon my sheep are healthier too."

Harper’s Exhaust Fertiliser will be on display at stand R22 at the AgQuip field days.

The event, touted one of the biggest farming events in Australia, will be held from August 19 to 21 this year.

Find out more about AgQuip 2014

Look out for the detailed feature on the Exhaust Fertiliser in the upcoming edition of NewFarmMachinery magazine, on sale September 8. Subscribe to the magazine to have it delivered.

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