ProPEAT at 250 Pro Peat Drive in Sugar City makes 8 to 9 tons of carbon-based fertilizer an hour. Owner John Pocock explains how it’s made in the video above. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
SUGAR CITY – For John Pocock, fertilizer is not just a way to help plants grow. It’s a lucrative business.
The Sugar City man is the face behind Pocock Trucking, which hauls fertilizer, feed, grain and other commodities throughout the U.S. and Canada. He’s also the owner of ProPEAT, a large plant at 250 Pro Peat Drive that makes carbon-based fertilizer.
In an interview with EastIdahoNews.com, Pocock explains what makes this type of fertilizer different from the traditional kind.
“Traditional fertilizer is just blended. You take nitrogen, phosphate, pot ash and blend it together, throw it in a bag. We take that and premix it, grind it into a powder, grind peat moss into a powder and then make a homogenous granule.”
Pocock says the precise mix of these elements and other micronutrients results in a much more effective fertilizer.
AmeriTurf, a Texas-based company that provides fertilizer and other plant products for vendors across the U.S., reports carbon is a vital part of healthy grass and plant production because it helps enhance soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient retention.
ProPEAT fertilizer helps improve the quality of the soil, Pocock says. It binds the nutrients to carbon, which permeates the soil until the plant needs it.
“You get a nice even spread to the plants, plus it makes a nice even feed to the way the plant can pull the nutrients,” Pocock says.
Pocock says it’s also eco-friendly. He points to several studies in which ProPEAT was proven more effective than competing brands with two-thirds less nitrogen. The results of those studies are available here and here.
The Sugar City plant has the capacity to make about 72 tons of fertilizer in a nine-hour shift. It’s an 11-step process, and it takes about an hour to make 8 to 9 tons. Pocock explained how it worked during a tour of the plant Wednesday morning. Watch it in the video above.
Bins where fertilizer is stored before bagging at ProPEAT. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
Since its launch in 2016, ProPeat has acquired hundreds of customers. The product is sold in distributors throughout the U.S. Although the product is widely available throughout the Rocky Mountain region, the Midwest and Texas, Pocock says 80% of it is shipped to the East Coast.
Pocock isn’t sure why it’s so popular in the East, but says it could be that people on that side of the country are more aware of new ways of doing things in the gardening and lawn care world.
“The nice thing about ProPEAT is it’ll work anywhere in the country with any kind of soil,” Pocock says.
Pocock was introduced to carbon-based fertilizer about a decade ago. He heard about it through a customer in Layton, Utah, he hauled fertilizer to through his trucking company.
A company in Johannesburg, South Africa, was making a product they called “carbon complex” and was looking for a way to produce it in the U.S.
“I looked into it and then jumped on a plane. We met them in a little town called Bethlehem, South Africa. They had a pretty crude plant down there where they could make maybe 2 or 3 tons a day,” Pocock says.
Pocock bought the technology and the rights to make it in North America. ProPEAT has since started shipping the product to Australia, South Korea, South Africa and Sweden.
The most common way to buy the product is through Home Depot’s online store. Pocock’s team is working on making it available in physical Home Depot locations.
ProPEAT is constantly looking for more distributors to sell the fertilizer nationwide.
“We had a fairly large company here that took a tour two weeks ago. They’ll have a meeting next week. We’re hoping they’ll be a new distributor for us (soon),” he says.
This giant pan spins and granulates the fertilizer made at ProPEAT. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
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