Sunday, June 16, 2024

Govt to farm nitrates technology

The Government will co-invest in a $22 million programme aimed at significantly reducing agricultural greenhouse gases and nitrate leaching, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

The Government has committed $7.3 million over seven years to the N-Vision NZ programme through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.

The programme focuses on three technology streams, the Minister said.

“N-Retain is a new nitrification inhibitor technology that will look at new ways to block the biological processes in the soil that lead to nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching,” said Mr O’Connor.

“N-Test is a new soil test to inform nitrogen fertiliser decisions on pastoral farms, that will help capitalise on the nitrogen already in soil organic matter. This could mean less nitrogen fertiliser needs to be applied.

“The third product, N-Bio Boost, is a fungal bio-inoculant to increase nitrogen use efficiency, which will examine how naturally occurring fungi boost the nitrogen efficiency of plants as another way to future-proof productivity.

“For our future we need innovative tools and technologies to help farmers reduce nitrogen fertiliser use on pastoral farms while maintaining production and profitability.”

Ravensdown is leading the programme, and will contribute $11 million cash, with Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research providing research expertise. Ravensdown and Lincoln University will contribute in-kind funding to the value of $3.8 million.

Minister O’Connor said the products and technologies developed through the N-Vision NZ programme will be made widely available under commercial terms.

“This will ensure that the environmental and economic benefits extend to the whole of New Zealand and not just Ravensdown’s customers,” he said.

“This Government is focussed on helping farmers reduce their environmental footprint. In Budget 22 we announced the establishment of the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions – a partnership with business to drive product development so farmers can play their part in New Zealand meeting its climate goals. We have also committed to restoring our waterways within a generation.”

Mr O’Connor said the work aligns with the sustainability goals of the Fit for a Better World food and fibre sector roadmap.

“Partnerships like N-Vision NZ will help us meet these goals and maintain our economic strength.”

“Finding new methods to take action for the health of our soils, waterways, and climate will pave the way towards a healthier future for us all,” the Minister said.

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