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Top R & D award for Lincoln-Ravensdown partnership


Top R & D award for Lincoln-Ravensdown partnership

Research and development of eco-n technology has won four staff members of Lincoln University and Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd the top Canterbury prize for research and development contributions to agriculture/horticulture - the Agricom Significant Achievement Award.

The award, presented tonight (Thurs. 23.6) at the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science Convention, was made to Professor Keith Cameron and Professor Hong J. Di of Lincoln University and Richard Christie and Ron Pellow of Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd.

In the words of the citation, the award was made for their “excellent research, product development, commercialisation and technology transfer associated with the use of the nitrification inhibitor, eco-n, in dairy pastures.”

Eco-n, launched in February 2004, reduces nitrate leaching into the groundwater from cow urine patches, the major source of such contamination in dairy farming, and it reduces emissions into the atmosphere of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas.

In addition to delivering these two environmental benefits, eco-n can also give farmers an annual pasture production increase of 10 to 15 percent.

Eco-n is available to dairy farmers throughout New Zealand and acceptance of the new technology has been rapid. This year it will be applied to about 12,000 hectares of Canterbury pasture. The product is applied in spray form by approved contractors with GPS mapping capability, thus providing farmers with proof of application.

Professor Keith Cameron and Professor Hong Di of Lincoln University’s Centre for Soil and Environmental Quality carried out the research, developing the technology from the well-known nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide and scientifically demonstrating the many benefits of it when formulated in the eco-n product.

Ravensdown’s General Manager, Strategic Development, Richard Christie and Business Development Manager Eco-n Ron Pellow encouraged funding of the research, product development leadership and commercial release by their company.

Tonight’s success is the second time that Lincoln University has won the annual Agricom Significant Achievement Award in a collaborative relationship. It won in 2001 with Christchurch’s Agrimm Technologies for the development of a range of biological pest control agents.

Lincoln University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Roger Field is delighted with this latest success.

“The research by Professor Keith Cameron and Professor Hong Di that underpinned the opportunity to develop eco-n was very significant and far-reaching,” he says.

“The opportunity to work with Ravensdown has made commercialisation possible within a short timeframe and for the benefits of the product to be rapidly taken up by farmers.

“Additionally the environmental benefits of the technology have major implications for farmers planning for enhanced water quality management and for New Zealand’s efforts to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“Lincoln University has greatly valued its association with Ravensdown and the combined efforts to support important areas for the development of sustainable agriculture.”

The CEO of Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd, Rodney Green, is equally delighted by the win and the success of the collaboration.

“The eco-n development is potentially one of the major agricultural developments of this decade,” he says. “It has the ability to significantly enhance dairy farming, while minimising the negative environmental effects that dairy farming can cause.

“We at Ravensdown are honoured that Professor Cameron and Professor Di came to us to seek assistance with the funding and commercialisation of this project and we are very proud to be associated with it. I also applaud the sponsorship of this project throughout Ravensdown by Richard Christie and Ron Pellow to the extent that it is enthusiastically supported by all of our field and stores staff.”

end

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT Ian Collins, Journalist, Lincoln University, Canterbury Tel: (03)( 3252811 ext 8549. Email: collinsi@lincoln.ac.nz

Richard Christie, General Manager - Strategic Development Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Limited Tel: (03) 3534600 or 021 900247

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