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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 11, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE February 11, 1975 ZAPPER ADDS TO TOTAL CRO CHAMPION-The commercial application of science research is one of the main aims of the 70 professional scientists at the Lethbridge Research Station so the work of farmer George Sehultz is being hailed, especially by Urban Pitman whose research is being turned into a new business; For 16 years Mr. Pitman has been studying the effects of biomagnetisrh on the growth of agricultural plants and after years of plot tests and co opera- tion of Southern Alberta farmers on large scale operations, has shown im- proved germination and yield through magnetic seed treatment. Mr. Pitman said the principal of pass- ing grain seed through a magnetic field generated by electromagnets or a set of permanent magnets is the basis for his work. For the past several years, he has been answering letters from countries around the world about his work with magnetism. But a major complaint of Mr. Pitman has been the lack of response from the commercial side of agriculture to adapt a machine to treat seed magnetically. One firm in the United States has been producing a unit which sells for more than It involves connection to a source of electricity and has ad- justments necessary to do the job. With all the information about the benefits of treating seed magnetically at hand, the job of trying to find a treater that can be efficiently and economically used proved almost impossible, said Mr. Schultz. "I tried to buy a said Mr. Schultz. "When this proved impossible, I tried to buy magnets to build my own and By RIG SWIHART, Herald Staff Writer I couldn't find any in all of Western Canada.' He said this was frustrating since he had had numerous discussions with Mr. Pitman about the magnetism principal across the Schultz kitchen table. All the talk and research data had proved to Mr. Schultz the merits of the principal but applying the principal seemed im- possible. When advertising material about the treater in the U.S. was received by Mr. Schultz, he saw immediately it wouldn't have too much application for. his needs. Fcfr one thing, it could handle only 60 bushels per hour and with 10 quarter sec- tions of farmland to be seeded, it wouldn't have been practical. "Urban said to me that somebody needs to make a said Mr. Schultz. "Being .naturally curious and taking his comment as a challenge, I decided to do something about my own His first thought was to make a magnetic seed treater that was reasonably priced and one that everybody could use. Contacts with friends in Calgary already in business led him on the construction path. The friends had wanted Mr. Schultz to buy shares in their company but he reversed the offer, ask- ing them to join him in manufacturing magnetic seed treaters. Their first reaction was "What's a magnetic seed said Mr. Schultz. After talks with Mr. Pitman, the men were convinced of the need for a unit in Western Canada. Mr. Schultz thought about building the treater during the spring field work in 1974. Because he knew only about traditional horseshoe magnets, all the plans he visualized were bulky. "When I found out about flat type of magnets, I really became interested in building a he said. In mid October, 1974, he drew a picture in a scribbler and from that picture, he developed and refined the treater. The next problem was to find a firm to build a prototype. After visiting several firms in Calgary and finding them too busy, he asked one firm to sell him some plastic so he could build one himself. That very day, back at his workshop on his farm five miles west of Champion, Mr. Schultz built the first prototype which was the basis for all future treaters. He formed Agronetics Ltd. in December, 1974, and the company was legalized in January. To speed up the process, Mr. Schultz contacted a firm in Salt Lake City, Utah, to build 100 treaters quickly for use as sales and promotion while the firm in Calgary is gearing up for full production. The Alberta Wheat Pool has been retained as the Alberta distributer of the Zapper, the registered trade name for Mr. Schultz magnetic seed treater. He is negotiating with firms in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for distribu- tion rights in those provinces. He said he will try to sell the treaters around the world. He is particularly eyeing the United States and Mexico, large grain producing nations, and he feels the results of research done by Mr. Pitman will be the main selling tool for his Zapper. Mr. Pitman said his latest data has ;