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ICL launches new biodegradable coating for CRFs

The use of a CRF reduces the number of applications that are needed though the season

Henry Bechelet, ICL’s turf and landscape - technical sales manager for the UK & Ireland discusses the new biodegradable coating for CRFs


Sports & Parks

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4 May 2023

ICL’s newest biodegradable coating, eqo.s, is set to be one of the most important innovations since controlled release fertilisers (CRFs) were introduced on the market over 50 years ago.

CRFs are an essential part of sustainable turf management and one of the most efficient ways of providing nutrition for turfgrass. The release technology of CRFs provides a steady nutrient release over extended periods to match the plants’ needs with minimal losses. CRFs ensure that turfgrass is never short of nutrition, can grow consistently, and nutrient losses to the environment are significantly reduced in comparison to conventional fertilisers. Additionally, the use of a CRF reduces the number of applications that are needed though the season.

eqo.s: the first of its kind

Eqo.s technology is the first coating technology that biodegrades quickly once all nutrients are released. It is one of the biggest ICL innovations in the past years, but the end users will not notice any difference in performance from the previous coatings. The new eqo.s coating shows reliable release patterns, high quality results, and it is fully biodegradable and with a superfast breakdown once all nutrients are released.

Compliant and future-proof

The eqo.s innovation is a step into the future for ICL. Driven by an innovative mentality, and of course a desire to comply with the new 2026 EU fertiliser legislation, ICL wanted to ensure that its products are completely compliant to the new regulations. ICL are proud to be upholding the highest standard of fertiliser quality and are leading the way in the turfgrass industry.

Research and testing

Like every product and technology at ICL, eqo.s is extensively researched and tested before being introduced to the market. The first laboratory tests were carried out at ICL’s R&D department. Additionally, the technology was tested in independent studies at Bangor University (UK), and in the field at independent trial stations throughout Europe and Australia. The trials have shown that CRFs with eqo.s are not so different from our current CRF technologies in terms of use, consistency and turf quality responses. But the main benefit is that the fully biodegradable eqo.s coating breaks down quickly and is completely compliant with the new fertiliser regulations.

How does it work?

The eqo.s technology is coated nitrogen whereby the urea nutrient core is coated with a sulphur (intermediate) layer, topped by an outer coating layer. This outer layer is the critical one as it regulates the movement of moisture into the granule and releases the nutrients out of the granule. ICL is specialised in developing these coatings. The new eqo.s outer coating offers a three to four month longevity and once all the nutrients are released, the coating shell breaks down quickly.

What it takes to innovate

ICL’s R&D department has extensive lab facilities and is constantly working on improvements and new products. For the eqo.s development, many experts were involved in different phases of a process that took about five to six years; from screening formulation chemists, chemical engineers and analysts, to agronomists and technical experts. It is a process of innovation, testing and then setting up the manufacturing and production processes and so takes a huge effort and level of commitment to bring to life.

Introduction of eqo.s in ICL’s CRF brands

The first eqo.s releases will be within the Sierrablen (standard size granule) and Sierrablen Plus (mini granule) ranges. Later this year, eqo.s will be introduced in ICLs other CRF product ranges such as Sportsmaster CRF Mini, ProTurf and Landscaper Pro. With eqo.s you will be getting the best results but with technology that is better for the environment. ICL continue to produce products that perform but with the needs of the future in mind.

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