Organic Help for Grass Growth (printed in Dairy News)

Technology claimed to have helped improve kiwifruit health and productivity for 10 years is now being used in a new pasture spray for pastoral farmers.

The products are made by Zest Biotech of Pukekohe. Its product, Agrizest is used on kiwifruit and the new product, certified organic Biozest, is for pasture. The company says it helps pastoral farmers mitigate environmental impacts on farm and increases pasture yield for milk and meat production.

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The maker says it has been scientifically proven in research trials to improve the productivity, resilience and quality of pasture.

Zest Biotech says its parent company, Indigo, has spent 20 years researching and developing the two products.

The company says Stan Matenga, an organic dairy farmer at Mata, near Whangarei, used Biozest in 12-month paddock trials on his farm. Pasture production was measured and compared between several Biozest-treated paddocks and untreated paddocks.

The treated paddocks are said to have achieved higher pasture productivity and a doubling of pasture consumption by stock.

Matenga says he also saw a change in the behavior of his stock.

“I’d put a mob of calves into the paddock and they’d immediately head over to the side treated with Biozest” he says, “The grass looked healthier and the calves seemed to be saying they enjoyed eating it more that the untreated areas.”

He says Biozest is a great solution to his onfarm emviromental measures. “Its something else I’ve been able ot add to my bag of tricks, along-side other organic sprays, seaweed and longer-rooting plants in pasture.”

Matenga also believes his pasture has recovered better from this year’s summer dry period than in previous years.

"“Compared to the years we haven’t used Biozest, I’ve noticed this year our pasture had more resilience to dry periods, and I don’t think we’d be in as good a place now if we had not used it”

The company says paddock and farm-scale trials over the last decade have shown Biozest-treated pasture can increase milk and meat production by up to 30% while simultaneously reducing urea excretion by at least 20%.

Indigo founder and scientist, Nathan Balasingham, says with farmers under increasing pressure Biozest is a way to make a positive environmental impact.