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RESEARCH

Spray ups yield, cuts emissions Biozest is unique spray that increases pasture resilience.

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UNIQUE pasture spray might hold the key to reducing on-farm environmental impacts while increasing production. The technology behind a product successfully used to improve kiwifruit health and productivity for the past 10 years is now available to help pastoral farmers mitigate their environmental impacts while increasing pasture yield and milk and meat production. Biozest is a pasture spray proven in research trials to improve the productivity, resilience and quality of pasture. Paddock and farm-scale trials over the past decade have shown pasture treated with it can increase milk and meat production by up to 30% while simultaneously reducing urea excretion by more than 20%. The product has been developed by Pukehoke biotechnology company Zest Biotech. Its parent company, Indigo, has done research and development trials for more than 20 years. Indigo founder and entrepreneurial scientist Nathan Balasingham says with farmers under increasing pressure to respond to issues of greenhouse gas emissions and urea excretion from animals, the spray is a way for farmers to make a positive environmental impact while also significantly increasing pasture yield and milk and meat production. “For a long time there’s been a common thought in the agricultural industry that reducing farming’s environmental impact had to come at the expense of production

DAIRY FARMER

May 2019

or that increasing production had to come at the expense of the environment,” he says. “We’ve researched this for over a decade, conducting rigorous trials onfarm and in commercial settings and we’ve seen it perform exceptionally in terms of increased production and, importantly, its use produces positive environmental effects.” The spray improves pasture resilience and growth by activating the molecular pattern recognition receptors (MPRR) on plant surfaces. When it is applied to pasture, the plant’s surface receptors trigger the production of bioactive molecules, called phenylpropanoids, which help plants overcome stress from pests, disease and environmental effects such as drought and frost so they increase the conversion of feed in grazing ruminants. “As a pasture spray it improves growth and resilience but, importantly, when treated pasture is consumed it increases ruminant digestion, which our research shows can lead to increased milk and meat production. “We’ve seen treated pasture in our trials being more efficiently converted to milk and meat instead of being wasted as methane and urea.” Balasingham firmly believes addressing agriculture’s environmental concerns should not be seen as an unwanted extra cost. “Reducing urea and greenhouse gases doesn’t need to be viewed as a threat or an attack on farmers – as long as scientists and developers are providing them the tools they need to respond.”

Indigo founder and entrepreneurial scientist Nathan Balasingham says farmers are under increasing pressure to respond to environmental issues. A recent independent review of the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre found it is leading the world in reducing livestock emissions. Balasingham says the report highlights the centre’s strategic thinking is focused heavily on productivity and efficiency, providing a value proposition for greenhouse gas mitigation. “By ensuring stock is more efficient through enhanced pasture growth, feed digestion and productivity we believe widespread use of Biozest can reduce the impact on the environment through reduced emissions, such as nitrogen leaching. “That means farmers can access an environmental solution that won’t reduce productivity and won’t financially cripple rural New Zealand, giving the rural economy a boost and contributing towards a solution to our greenhouse gas problem at the same time.” n

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Profile for Farmers Weekly NZ

Dairy Farmer May 6 2019  

A place to call home

Dairy Farmer May 6 2019  

A place to call home