EMNZ’s humble beginnings continuously grow into fruitful innovations

Clever use of biological farming tools is bringing recognition for EMNZ, which was named as a finalist last year in the David Awards and the 2023 Fieldays Innovation Award.

Heather Douglas, who founded the David Awards to recognise New Zealand’s unsung small business heroes, described last year’s strong field of finalists as ‘a phenomenal result,’ especially given the tough economic times and the series of traumatic events that had coincided with the entry period. She praised entrants for their courage, determination and resilience.

“Climate impacts on business and farming systems have certainly brought significant challenges,” observes Paul Daly, EMNZ’s business development manager. “For us, it underlines just how important it is to be constantly striving to come up with solutions to help mitigate some of these issues caused by large-scale weather events. Fundamentally, we’re utilising innovative microbial solutions to improve soil health and resilience of the soil. Ultimately, that helps create a more resilient farming system.”

Using Effective Microorganisms – or EM – to naturally stimulate biological activity in soil and plants first started to catch on in New Zealand amongst organic producers some 20 years ago. The EMNZ balanced biological toolbox – working for soil much like yoghurt works for our bodies to promote health and vitality – is today much more widely used and appreciated.

“As a company, we developed from small beginnings but have really grown a lot in the last five to 10 years as we have continued to innovate. New Zealand farmers are wanting to do their best for their land and soil. We’ve got a significant range of products now that they can use to mitigate some of the issues caused by extreme weather events as well as to boost production and create a healthy system for producing healthy protein, whether meat, milk or plants.”

Improving soil health and resilience of the soil helps create a more resilient farming system, says Paul Daly, EMNZ’s business development manager.

“This year, we’re looking at further innovation and getting more data to show the benefits of our products.”

Effective Microorganisms are being applied in New Zealand orchards and vineyards as well as on dairy farms and in sheep and beef country to stimulate good soil health and plant growth. “We mainly sell in bulk to distributors, who are using it across the board as part of their programmes.”

EM Soil and Crop is a popular staple on many farms, where it helps to improve soil and enhance crop and pasture growth. Ongoing innovation has brought new biofertilisers into the EMNZ range too as well as a new plant growth-promoting product called Plant-Stim. This liquid bio-stimulant is what impressed the award judges at the 2023 Fieldays.

Designed to promote increased plant growth and boost crop resilience, it contains five major growth hormones and a biological delivery system of Fulvic Acid and Effective Microorganisms. Trials of EM products to date have yielded exciting results. For example, an independent pasture trial over 2021/22 found that farmers using EMNZ microbial products could lower their nitrogen inputs and still maintain pasture growth, provided EM products were used in combination with nitrogen.

It highlights the efficacy of products like EM Fert Enhance that give farmers a tool for reducing nitrogen, as well as saving money on fertiliser. “This year, we’re looking at further innovation and getting more data to show the benefits of our products. We are using a number of different companies to undertake research in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Canterbury across a variety of different crops and growing systems.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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