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Joint Venture Seeks To Boost Farmers' Competitive

Joint Venture Seeks To Boost Farmers' Competitive Edge

A new research-based joint venture, officially announced today between Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Celentis (the commercial arm of AgResearch), will bring innovative products to markets in New Zealand and overseas.

Ballance chief executive Larry Bilodeau, says the joint venture company, called EnCoate, will take research out of the laboratory and commercialise it for the benefit of farmers looking to increase yields and grow revenue.

"The opportunities it offers for New Zealand farming are significant. Its synergy with our mission is clear; we are here to help improve New Zealand's agricultural competitiveness," Mr Bilodeau says.

EnCoate will become the vehicle through which Ballance and Celentis will develop a growing range of biopesticides. Its aim is to commercialise significant intellectual property which will progressively benefit farmers as new products are developed, tested and marketed.

New patented technology developed by AgResearch and licensed by EnCoate enables micro-organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, to be stored at room temperature for extended periods of time without a loss of viability. The technology is leading edge in this field.

This in turn enables the cost effective formulation of biopesticides for the control of a wide range of pests.

The technology is environmentally friendly, using nature and naturally occurring organisms to control pests, which mean farmers can reduce chemical pesticide use.

"Developments such as this will not only enhance our customers' competitiveness and on farm productivity, they give us the potential to earn revenue through the international licensing of the technology for the benefit of our shareholders," Mr Bilodeau says.

"Ballance is a company which recognises the importance of science and technology and uses that technology to improve farm efficiency and financial returns."

Ballance has always traditionally invested in science-based research to ensure its position of offering new and innovative products to grow New Zealand farmers' agricultural competitiveness

"We will be introducing an exciting new range of products through this joint venture," Mr Bilodeau says, "and taking the use of scientific knowledge in farming to a new level."

Through developments such as the new, environmentally friendly biopolymer technology, EnCoate will make a real contribution to New Zealand's knowledge economy, Mr Bilodeau says.

"We believe EnCoate will provide huge international opportunities. We will be able to tailor our products to offer solutions for many different pathogens and diseases. We've already had interest from overseas in what we have been doing."

Mr Bilodeau says Ballance's core business in providing nutrients for the soil to help its customers increase their on farm productivity is a natural complement to biopesticides.

"It broadens the sphere of what we can offer farmers and we're not stopping here. Science has no boundaries. Ballance is committed to a future in which it contributes to growth through science; growth of knowledge, productivity and commercial competitiveness."

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