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More Profit, Less Gas

Media Release
For immediate use

August 29, 2012

More Profit, Less Gas

A clever New Zealand Invention that can boost farm profits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to be showcased at ABIC 2012.

Novel formulated plant extracts, when sprayed on pastures, vines and crops, have the potential to both boost food production and profits, and make our agriculture truly clean and green, according to Nathan Balasingham of Indigo Ltd, a New Zealand specialist in agricultural and environmental biotechnology.

Balasingham, who will outline the commercially proven technology at the upcoming International Conference for Agricultural Biotechnology in Rotorua, says that the agricultural compound is made from extracts of coconut, soy bean and marine plants.

“It tricks plants into thinking they are under attack. This stimulates their immune systems and results in more vigorous growth and higher quality production,” he says.

“This outcome is the result of genome work in the 90s when it was discovered that membrane-bound receptors in plants recognise when foreign molecules are present and activate the plant’s immune system. We used this knowledge to create new products that can be safely sprayed onto animal and human food plants, resulting in more growth and improved nutritional quality, with no withholding period.”

Balasingham’s company, Indigo Ltd, has developed three formulations for different types of agricultural production. Biozest is for use by livestock farmers to increase production and palatability of pasture, while orchardists have already been using Agrizest, which is formulated for woody plants. Indigo also has a product, Nature’s Curator, for home gardeners.

Farmers and orchardists say that soon after application they can see and measure positive changes in plant colour and vigour and animal production. Within a few days of animals grazing treated pasture, dairy factory returns show increases in milk volume and milk solids.

The effect on the farmer’s bottom line is very noticeable. Results from independently conducted dairy farm trials have shown measured increases of more than 20% in pasture production, higher milk solids and net profit increases of over $1000 per hectare. In kiwifruit orchards the benefit can be much higher – around $5000 per hectare.

Treating pasture with Biozest improves rumen protein retention by stock, which leads to increased milk and meat production. In addition, less urea is excreted and so soil nitrogen loading and leaching are reduced as are emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Methane generation in the rumen is also less.

Balasingham sees the use of the products as a win for farmer profits, the environment and for the country’s ‘clean green’ brand.

“There is now good commercial evidence and track records backing the effectiveness of the technology, and strong support from farmer and orchardist users” he says.

He hopes that his Conference presentation will lead to the relevant Crown Research Institute measuring lowered greenhouse gas levels from treated pasture. With such proof, markets in other countries such as China, India and South America are likely to see Biozest as a quick and safe way to improve their emission levels. This represents a huge potential market providing both profits and environmental kudos to New Zealand.

The ABIC 2012 will be attended by scientists, international technology scouts and venture capital companies. Indigo’s goal is to license multinational agricultural chemical companies to market the product overseas, and see this presentation as a great opportunity to pitch these products to relevant organisations.


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