The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund supports problem-solving and innovation in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector by co-investing in initiatives that make a positive and lasting difference.
Here are examples of three recent projects.
Hot-house approach to greenhouse gases
A new project has kicked off with the help of MPI to see if we can make commercial horticulture glasshouses carbon-neutral.
Near Taupo, Hot Lime Labs is converting crop and wood waste from glasshouses into char – a solid, high- carbon material that acts as a chemical ‘sponge’ to clean up substances such as nitrates. The char is buried in the soil to create biochar, which has the potential to lock up carbon in the ground for hundreds of years.
Hot Lime Labs is receiving $707,360 over two years from MPI’s SFF Futures fund towards the $1.76 million project.
The project will also use existing technology developed by Hot Lime Labs, which turns waste biomass into clean CO2.
CO2 gas produced from fossil fuels is already used to boost crop yields by up to 30 percent but creating it from waste could be a game-changer for New Zealand’s mission to tackle greenhouse gases.
Tijs Robinson, Chief Growth Officer, email@example.com, phone 021 411 466
World-first electric sprayer made in NZ
Forest Lodge Orchard (FLO) could well be the world’s first fully electric, zero fossil fuel farm. Now the orchard is developing yet another world first – an electric foliage sprayer.
The Otago-based cherry orchard is receiving $37,198 from MPI’s SFF Futures fund to help fast-track development and testing of the sprayer. With the help of TRS Wholesale Ltd in Blenheim, they’ve developed a prototype, which FLO is putting through its paces on New Zealand’s only electric tractor.
FLO has ordered a larger electric tractor from the United States to cut their spraying time from eight hours to three – the same as a conventional tractor and sprayer.
The electric sprayer is expected to save up to 80 percent of the power of a conventional sprayer – with the bonus of less noise and maintenance, and zero carbon emissions.
Mike Casey, FLO co-founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 021 077 0171
See you later, Alligator
Alligator weed is on the global biosecurity hitlist of ‘most noxious weeds’. It can affect farmland, the margins of waterways, and aquatic environments.
A new project has received funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund to stop it spreading across New Zealand.
The project will look at the on-farm impacts, especially its toxicity, and the costs of alligator weed.
Researchers will aim to stop the spread in the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way. Results will be shared with farmers, growers and rural contractors.
SFF Futures has committed $270,000 over three years to the $405,000 project in partnership with AgResearch and Waikato Regional Council, along with a network of agriculture industry and local government co-investors.
Trevor James, AgResearch senior scientist, email@example.com, phone 021 045 8305