Custom Agricultural Intelligence Inc., a progressive leader in customized crop health therapy formulations is seeking a Formulation Scientist to join our energetic team at our Regina/Sedley Facility. This will be a senior level position responsible for formulation development of microbial bio-pesticides, bio-fungicides, bio-insecticides, bio-herbicides, bio-stimulants and managing formulation lab operations. The successful candidate will work closely with all levels of the Company’s R&D team. The individual will be part of a Formulation Development Group that is highly focused on the rapid development of new agriculture products, supporting process development and scale up activities for commercialization. We are looking for highly energetic individuals who have deep technical knowledge in biotech manufacturing process development areas such as: analytical development, formulation development, process development and downstream processing. This position requires individual to be capable of working in cross-functional teams and/or other technology development teams to achieve departmental and corporate goals.
Responsibilities and Duties:
- Design, prepare and develop microbial formulation processes at lab scale, pilot scale and commercialized manufacturing.
- Apply for product registration with CFIA or other government regulatory authorities.
- Lead and conduct stability studies and product testing procedures. Key evaluations include: in-house efficacy, microbial, physico-chemical testing (pH/conductivity, density, viscosity, dispersion, particle size, emulsion/suspension, etc.), compatibility testing (container, tank mix, etc.), as well as ASTM and CIPAC methods.
- Lead to investigate, develop, optimize and implement new formulation or process technologies.
- Support technical field development and sales team efforts by providing formulated samples and materials.
- Knowledge and experience in bio-chemical formulation development is essential.
- The ideal candidate should also possess the ability to learn quickly, solve complex problems and have excellent data analysis/interpretation skill as well as excellent in verbal and written communication and presentation skills.
- The candidate has ability to successfully interface with multidisciplinary teams, engage and collaborate with external partners in process development and manufacturing.
- Proficiency in spectrometric analysis of tissues, seeds, soil and fertilizer.
- Interface with microbiology, bioassay, and chemistry groups by supplying test formulations, and aid in processing data.
- Present formulation updates to team members at regular project meetings.
- Prepare and maintain laboratory notebooks, technical reports, summaries, protocols and methods for the development of company’s bio-chemical products, according to company’s policies. Adhere to the company’s IP guidelines.
- Maintain a clean, organized and safe working environment.
- Evaluating formulation options and technical feasibilities for optimal delivery and seed safety of microbial products
- Providing technical leadership in formulation technology for microbial products and developing practical and cost-effective formulations that enable commercialization.
- Managing day-to-day formulation research and development operations.
- Designing and conducting formulation and downstream processing experiments toward to optimizing bioactivity, physical properties and stability.
- Providing high quality technical actives and formulation prototypes for greenhouse and field testing.
- Preparation and delivery of reports, SOPs, and technical presentations for both in-house and external parties.
- Other duties as assigned.
The successful candidate will possess the following skills:
- MUST BE AUTHORIZED TO WORK FULL TIME IN CANADA.
- PhD. or MS. in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology or related fields.
- R&D work experience (up to 3 years) in formulation or processing of biological products desired.
- B.Sc. with sufficient experience (5+ years) will also be considered.
- 1 to 5 years of industrial experience in biological formulation for agriculture.
- Experience in the formulation of biological products and familiarity with technologies such as freeze-drying, granulation, emulsion, encapsulation, etc.
- Experience with agricultural chemistries employed in seed treatments and the application techniques used to treat them.
- Knowledge of various formulation types typical in the agriculture industry.
- Knowledge of crop protection products and field application practices.
- Knowledge of experimental design and statistical methods.
- Energetic and self-motivated individual able to work in a fast-paced environment.
- Self-directed and creative, and must be able to work effectively in a flexible and multi-disciplinary team environment.
- Interpersonal skills required to communicate, advise, negotiate or influence others, as well as, build productive working relationships in various settings.
- Analytical skills required to interpret and summarize (scientific data) and information.
- Planning skills required to organize, prioritize, schedule and coordinate work activities for multiple projects.
- Mechanical aptitude with ability to lift 40 lbs.
- Be able to work on repetitive tasks in a multi-functional lab.
- Must be able to sit and/or stand for long periods of time (2-4 hours).
- Ability to sit at a desk for extended periods. Utilizing extensive use of computer, keyboard, mouse and monitor.
- Ability to drive a vehicle for extended period of times to different locations.
- May also be required to work in a venue such as a hotel or other organization’s meeting room, conference, or convention space with the possible inclusion of weekends.
- Overnight travel to annual meetings/conferences (up to 7 consecutive days) required; overnight travel to other meetings (typically 1-5 consecutive days); inclusion of weekends may be involved.
Ability to work with frequent interruptions and changes in workload priorities, ability to prioritize tasks, ability to maintain strict confidentiality.
Ability to travel domestically under special circumstances, conference meetings or manufacturing site visits by various modes of both private and commercial transportation.
The salary range based on experience. Custom Ag Intel offers a comprehensive benefits package including RRSP with employer match, and a health plan including medical and dental coverage, life insurance coverage, long term disability, and a flexible spending account for dependent care and/or medical expenses.
The above is a list of essential duties and responsibilities for this position. This list is not all-inclusive. This job description may be modified as needed.
Custom Ag Intel is an equal-opportunity employer. A pre-employment drug screen will be required.
Send updated resume with reference and cover letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you for your interest in this position.
Soil health depends on a constant balance of nutrients (aka co-factors) and soil life. This is why 90% of our customized crop health therapy protocols at Custom Agricultural Intelligence Inc. is geared towards soil health. We believe that a healthy soil will output a healthy crop, it is that simple. For the soil to output a healthy crop that will build bushels, it must follow its unique blueprint for growth. Let’s take a moment to discuss the crop’s unique blueprints for growth. Here are a couple of important points;
- There must be a balance in co-factors and crop hormones at critical stages of the crop’s growth cycle.
- There is a hierarchy of nutrient uptake from the soil. (Our protocol covers this point).
- Different co-factors and hormones are needed at critical stages of the crop’s growth cycle.
- Plant food (N.P.K.S) and plant multivitamins (primary and secondary micro-nutrients) are important and need to be applied in such a way that there is a balance in cations and anions. This is what true nutrient balance means.
Currently, we have the application of plant food (N.P.K.S) taken care of by way of calculated amounts of compound fertilizer blends applied at seeding or broadcasted in the fall. The co-factors are now being applied in a couple of ways via foliar feeding, liquid impregnation of dry fertilizers and dry incorporation with dry fertilizer.
As a leading manufacturer of both liquid and dry formulations, we will like to educate growers on the meaning of the different methods of incorporating micro-nutrients to give them a fair chance at understanding what adds “true” value and “perceived” value.
Liquid Foliar feeding products: This is mostly a dry-liquid suspension of one or more macro and/or micro-nutrients in a solution. The ingredients are premixed together in a W/W or W/V manner using mostly water as the base. Most times, they come in chelated forms which helps to improve the nutrients absorption by the crop. The resulting product is created according to a formulation and sprayed at critical points in the crop’s growth cycle.
- Supplies micro amounts of macro/micro-nutrients.
- If chelated, absorption of the micro-nutrients is enhanced.
- Can be applied with most crop protection products if compatibility is tested.
- Might lead to leaf burn if not formulated correctly.
- Nutrients present may not compliment soils nutrient deficiencies effectively.
- Can’t rebuild soil nutrient bank which is critical to soil health.
Liquid impregnation on dry fertilizer: In this approach, micro-nutrients made by the procedure described above is sprayed on dry fertilizer (usually urea) at low rates in a bid to incorporate micro-nutrients into the pellets. The micro-nutrients to be could be impregnated could be varied or specific depending on the formulation of the liquid. This process has been hailed as a step forward towards safely getting micro-nutrients into the seed bed for absorption by the seedling and the crop. It is our opinion that the amount of nutrient impregnated into the fertilizer would be negligible (most times ml/100kg) and thus, add no real value. However, many processing plants have posted articles on their opinion on the value of liquid impregnation.
- No leave burn
- Can’t rebuild soil nutrient bank which is critical for soil health.
- Nutrients present may not compliment the soils/the crops nutrient deficiencies effectively
- If it’s not done right it can lead to caking of the fertilizer.
Dry incorporation: Dry micro-nutrient can be customized in form of homogeneous pellets and broadcasted with compound fertilizers. If chelated with the right chelating agent and in the right amount, micros can be placed with banded fertilizer to improve the absorption of nutrients.
- Better than liquid impregnation in supplying adequate amounts of micro-nutrients to the crop and the soil.
- Can help replenish the soil nutrient bank.
- No leave burn.
- If chelated, absorption of the micro-nutrients is enhanced.
- Can be applied without interfering with any foliar pass (passes)
- If formulated incorrectly, it can cause toxicity to the seed/soil.
Upon reviewing the pros and cons outlined above contact our Biochemist to discuss which option best suits your crop’s growing needs so as to add real value to your operation.
To be continued …
Have you ever wondered what the best timing to foliar apply nutrients to your crop is? Growers know that there are many interconnecting factors that affects crop management and building bushels. Knowing when to apply the right crop nutrient, in this case, micronutrient foliar application, is an important dynamic in the process of building bushel.
Here we look at some of the conditions that promote effective foliar fertilizer application and utilization.
Foliar application can act as a supplement only (not a replacement) to soil fertilizer application. However, under some conditions, foliar applications can actually be more beneficial/effective. Here are some of these conditions;
- High Soil pH (too acidic or too alkaline)
- Temperature stress
- High Soil moisture (too high or too low)
- High Pests/insect pressure
- High variability in soil nutrient throughout the growing field
- Root/soil borne disease pressure
In all of these conditions, the prevailing condition significantly slows down nutrient uptake by the plant. Adding more nutrients to the soil in this case will not be as effective and only result in costly waste and potential environmental damage. Foliar application can help mitigate/solve these problems, strengthen the plant and enable it to thrive under the stress conditions outlined above. In most cases, foliar application can be beneficial because the nutrient uptake by the plant will be faster and enable the plant to recover quicker than through soil application.
Furthermore, in some growth phases of crop cycle, foliar application may be more effective. This depends on the crop type and soil conditions. This is the main reason why testing and custom fertilizer combinations are proving to be more effective in recent years.
There are a number of factors that determine the effectiveness of foliar application. Some of those factors include the solubility of the nutrients, pH of the fertilizer, time of day, the EC of the foliar fertilizer and droplet size and retention. For example, the nutrients have to be soluble in order for the plant to absorb them. Also, the time of the day affects how the crops absorbs the nutrients. Foliar spraying close to when the crop stomata will be opened will be more valuable. Soil pH plays an important role in micronutrient absorption from the root. High or low soil pH ties up most of the soil nutrients. As a result of these outlined factors, it is safe to say that different crops and different soils need different nutrient prescriptions at different timing. This is yet another reason why foliar nutrient application should be considered via a customisation process that takes into consideration the type of crop, the nutrient needs of the plant, environmental conditions and soil/tissue analysis results. If these factors are not planned into your foliar formulation, it can cause negative effects on the crops yield. For example, too high nutrient concentrations along with the wrong timing of application can be detrimental to the crops.
If you are concerned that you are not applying the correct type and concentration of foliar crop health therapy formulations at the right timing, then talk to one of our expert crop health advisers and they will be able to help.
Hopefully you found this post helpful. If you want to know more about your crop nutrient needs, contact us – we’d love to chat!
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