infonews.co.nz
INDEX
NEWS

Advancing Sustainable Agriculture in New Zealand: Dr. Gordon Rajendram and Agraforum Present EL-I Tech's Biodynamic Nitrogen

Monday 5 February 2024, 4:56PM

By Media PA

356 views

Dr Gordon Rajendram
Dr Gordon Rajendram Credit: Media PA

In the pursuit of sustainable agricultural practices, Dr. Gordon Rajendram, a Hamilton-based soil scientist, in collaboration with Agraforum of Ashburton, introduces EL-I Tech’s Biodynamic Nitrogen (Bio N) as a groundbreaking biological approach to address nitrogen deficiency in New Zealand soils. This innovative approach to nitrogen fixation, pioneered in South Africa by Gerhard Vermaak and dubbed EL-I Tech involves the application of microbes and substrate through foliar spraying, facilitating the biological fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere for plant utilisation.

The trials, conducted in collaboration with Agraforum, took place on three dairy farms in mid-Canterbury from early November 2023 to the end of January 2024, spanning a 12-week period. The comprehensive study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of Bio N in comparison to traditional synthetic nitrogen (urea), focusing on pasture growth, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact.

On Eiffleton farm, where both Bio N and Urea were applied, Dr. Gordon Rajendram observed that Bio N exhibited comparable daily growth rates to Urea over a 9-week period. Moreover, the total pasture produced using Bio N slightly surpassed that of Urea, demonstrating its effectiveness in sustaining pasture growth.

Farm 1: Eiffleton farm

Area: 210 hectares
Peak Cows: ~750
Bio N and Urea applied on 8 November 2023
Grass growth measured by GrassCo. over 63-day period (9 weeks)

Total pasture produced over a 63-day period (kg dry matter/hectare)

Bio N (kg DM/hectare) 5103

Urea (kg DM/hectare) 4977

Similarly, on Farm 2 Maronan farm, Bio N, applied only once on 8th November 2023, demonstrated competitive growth rates with Urea over an 11-week period. The total pasture produced with Bio N exceeded that of Urea, showcasing its potential for cost-effective pasture management.

Farm 2: Maronan Farm

Area: 125 hectares
Peak Cows: 485
Biodynamic N applied only once on 8 Nov 2023 and grass growth measured for 11 weeks, till 22 January 2024).  Cost is $80 per hectare.
Urea applied at a rate of 18 kg N in granular form every round for ~ 21 days. Four rounds of urea applied, therefore 72 kg N applied within 11 weeks. Cost of urea N is $140 hectare.

Total pasture produced over a 77-day period (kg dry matter/hectare)

Time Bio N (kg DM/hectare) 6160

Urea (kg DM/hectare) 5698

On the Alford Forest Area farm, where Bio N was applied only once on 27th November 2023, the results were consistent. Bio N offered comparable growth rates and kept a consistent total pasture production alongside Urea over 8 weeks.

Farm 3: Alford Forest Area

Area: 125 hectares
Peak Cows: 485
Biodynamic N applied only once on 27 Nov 2023 and grass growth measured for 8 weeks, until 22 January 2024. Bio N cost is $80 per hectare.
Urea applied at a rate of 18.4 kg N in granular form every round for ~ 21 days. Three rounds of urea applied, therefore 55 kg N applied within 8 weeks. Cost of urea N is $108 hectare.

Total pasture produced over a 64-day period (kg dry matter/hectare)

Time Bio N (kg DM/hectare) 3712

Urea (kg DM/hectare) 3968
 

The collaborative efforts of Dr. Gordon Rajendram and Agraforum underscore that Bio N not only matches Urea in pasture growth but also requires only one application compared to multiple rounds of Urea. Additionally, the cost of producing pasture with Bio N is lower than that of Urea, making it an economically viable alternative. The potential environmental benefits, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, are acknowledged, although further research is needed for a comprehensive evaluation.

In conclusion, EL-I Tech, presented by Dr. Gordon Rajendram and Agraforum, Biodynamic Nitrogen emerges as a promising biological solution for overcoming nitrogen deficiency in New Zealand soils, providing sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to traditional synthetic nitrogen applications.

"Visually, where Bio N is applied in paddocks, I found the pasture cover over the paddock is very uniform. i.e. urine patches did not stick out.” – Dr Gordon Rajendram

Contact Agraforum

0800 488 118

allan@agraforum.co.nz

www.agraforum.co.nz/contact-us

Contact Dr Gordon Rajendram

021 466077

rajendram@xtra.co.nz

www.gordonrajendramsoilscientist.co.nz

Contact Phillip Quay

027 458 7724

phillip@mediapa.co.nz

www.mediapa.co.nz