Firm advances natural solution

5th May 2023 By: Simone Liedtke - Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

Firm advances natural solution

NATURAL ZEOLITE Zeolites are naturally occurring minerals that can absorb positively charged cations

Local manufacturer Pratley is using its research and development capabilities to advance the use of its Vulture Creek Clino product, a natural zeolite called Clinoptilolite.

Zeolites are naturally occurring minerals that were deposited millions of years ago during volcanic activity. They are crystalline, aluminium-silicate minerals with a three-dimensional honeycomb-type structure.

This structure gives zeolites a high internal negative charge, which, in turn, enables them to absorb positively charged cations, such as ammonium, says Pratley marketing director Eldon Kruger.

The absorption of ammonia is important for the agriculture and horticulture industries. For example, farm animals, such as chickens, produce huge amounts of ammonia daily, which can create an unpleasant smell and an unhealthy environment.

Using Vulture Creek Clino allows for the absorption of ammonia in chicken coups, consequently creating a healthier environment for the chickens in which to live and to lay their eggs, he adds.

Further, when mixed with fertiliser, the Vulture Creek Clino will absorb the cations in the fertiliser and slowly release them over a prolonged period. This, Kruger says, ensures that the nutrients are not lost through water drainage and are kept longer in the root zone for the plant to absorb. Consequently, the product is used in the maintenance of golf course turf with great success.

Kruger says Vulture Creek Clino can also be preloaded with ammonia or potassium to supply fertiliser to plants as a slow-release fertiliser.

Vulture Creek Clino is supplied in 50 kg bags and should be mixed into 1 m3 of growing medium.

When placed directly onto soil or turf, 1 kg will cover 1 m2 of soil.

Vulture Creek Clino is normally mixed into the first 200 mm of soil or where the root zone of the plant is located. Once mixed into the soil, Kruger says the product will continue with the cation exchange process “for many years”.

It does not have to be included in the fertiliser with every growing season and will “greatly enhance the soil to ensure healthy plants”.

The product can also be used as a growing medium for hydroponics, as it retains nutrients, and its retaining moisture makes it hydroscopic. Both features of the product are ideal for plant health, Kruger says.

“Unlike ordinary soil enhancers, Vulture Creek Clino is a completely naturally occurring product and contains no chemicals that could adversely influence the environment,” he concludes.