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Organic dairy shed cleaner breaks new ground

14 September 2005

Organic dairy shed cleaner breaks new ground

An organic cleaner developed in New Zealand is on track to revolutionise milking shed cleaning routines, saving dairy farmers substantial energy costs and having potential to earn them carbon credits.

With the help of government investment from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Waikato company Deosan New Zealand Ltd has developed an organic acid detergent that reduces the impact of the regular twice-daily wash-downs on the environment.

Deosan is also working towards full organic certification for the new detergent, called Supernova, which will make it the first certified organic acid detergent in the world. It already has AgriQuality food safety approval.

The Supernova formulation contains two organic acids, Glycolic and Alkyl Sulphonic. These differ in makeup from traditional inorganic acids such as hydrochloric, sulphuric, nitric and phosphoric by containing a carbon molecule. Both have lower corrosiveness and toxicity than traditional inorganic acids and are recognised internationally as superior cleaning performers.

Deosan Managing Director, Kip Bodle, says the key factors differentiating the new organic cleaner from traditional acid cleaners are its effectiveness in both hot and cold water, its low toxicity, its biodegradability and the smaller amounts required to do the job. Energy savings mount through the reduced use of hot water.

Government assistance of $78,000, made through the Foundation’s Technology New Zealand suite of investment schemes, provided Deosan with crucial support.

“A company our size has no fat for a big research and development budget. For a small- to medium-sized business to get ahead in a competitive market it needs to come up with something new.

“The government support was crucial for this development; we couldn’t have done it without that assistance,” says Mr Bodle.

Deosan estimates the dairy detergent market is worth approximately $NZ40 million annually and the company is initially hoping to gain around 10 per cent of it. However, Mr Bodle says the biggest challenge is to educate dairy farmers that not all acid detergents are the same and to understand the damaging environmental effects of material sluiced down drains.

“Farmers need to look beyond the price per drum and take into account the savings achieved. Not only is it organic but it does the job,” he says of Supernova. The Deosan website provides a calculator for farmers to punch in their own data to help estimate potential savings.

Deosan conducted stringent quality testing and monitoring during field trials, using an independent microbiologist to test milk quality and an energy consultant to verify energy consumption savings. Landcare Research tested wastewater from washdowns and found an increase in beneficial microbial activity.

As a result of the Supernova R&D project, Deosan is now working on research that could lead to associated products to improve the state of dairy effluent settlement ponds or reduce the effects of leaching, such as those causing water quality issues around Lake Taupo. In addition, Deosan is about to begin further trials to achieve greater energy savings. This type of R&D is timely, given the pending introduction of the carbon tax in 2007 which will impact directly on dairy farmers, says Mr Bodle.

Deosan also received further Foundation assistance to develop a unique acid dispensing unit which sets the exact measure of acid for daily dairy shed washing. Until now, measuring has been done manually, posing risks to staff handling the acid and some inaccuracies in measurement. The company is already negotiating export opportunities with dairy machinery manufacturers in the UK and Argentina.

Deosan is a family owned company based at Waharoa. Kip Bodle’s brother, Mike, a dairy farmer, decided to buy the Deosan formulations when the American owner was looking to divest. Deosan now owns its own manufacturing company, employs a chemist and is committed to further R&D to provide dairy farmers with more environmentally friendly product options.

ENDS

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