Irish seaweed agrochemicals

Three types of seaweed-based agrochemicals are produced in Ireland: seaweed meal, liquid seaweed extracts, and maërl. The current European market for fertilisers and other agrochemicals is currently about US$30 billion whilst the European market for liquid seaweed extracts is about US$30 million.

However, with increasing public concerns about the use of "chemical" herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers, the potential is enormous. Usage of conventional fertilisers is rapidly becoming completely optimised with the use of new technology such as chlorophyll meters to establish nitrate requirements on the spot. It is envisaged that, ultimately, "intelligent tractor robots" will be able to assess nutrient requirements as they move through fields and to redress any requirements immediately by spreading precise amounts of fertilisers locally.

It is clear, however, that any further large yield increases from genetic improvements and optimum use of fertilisers are impossible. Such increases will have to come from "growth enhancers" such as liquid seaweed extracts. Just 1% of the European agrochemical market amounts to about US$300 million dollars which is not a hopeless target for seaweed growth enhancers; and Far Eastern markets are even larger. Increasing public concern about the use of "chemicals" in intensive farming will certainly result in a tremendous market advantage for organic farming; seaweed-based agrochemicals are ideally placed to capitalise on this.

Manufacturers of liquid seaweed extracts in Ireland

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