Thursday, July 7, 2022

Scientific work must continue

SCIENTIFIC work will have to continue on perfecting DCD’s role as a nitrification inhibitor on pastures, even though it could take up to five years to achieve an international standard for residues in food products.

The science would try to find ways for DCD to be applied to dairy farmland so that no residue occurred, Ballance Agri-Nutrients research and development manager Warwick Catto said.

                This would include application methods, time of application, and stock withholding periods from pasture.

                “It will be very difficult and there will be no guarantees there will be no DCD on the pasture when stock are there,’’ Catto said.

                “The predicament is you could get caught out one year in 10 and that possibility will make exporters very cautious about having it on farmland they’re taking product from.’’

                He hoped an international standard could be achieved before five years but said time would be taken up bringing other countries on board, getting DCD on to an international priority list, and building the science as part of the process.

                Despite the time-frame and the odds, it was important research continued because DCD was a great tool for farmers, as a nitrate leaching inhibitor and in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

                Outside fertiliser tools and management there wasn’t the science at this stage to suggest there were different ways, such as biological methods, to disrupt ammonium converting to nitrate and soaking through the ground.

                Ballance’s DCn product was a small part of its fertiliser programme and much smaller than Ravensdown’s eco-n business. DCn sales had been halted last July, before the issues over DCD residue emerged in September.

                Balance is involved in a $32 million research programme, funded partly by the government Primary Growth Partnership scheme, on nitrification inhibitors and greenhouse gas emission tools.

                DCD is part of this but the work would also be aimed at the next generation of inhibitor technologies, Catto said. 

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