27 Jun 2013

Two new primary growth partnership projects approved

6:33 am on 27 June 2013

The Ministry for Primary Industries has approved funding for two more primary growth partnership programmes.

The biggest of the two is a $10 million project to improve hill and high country farm production by using precision fertiliser techniques.

Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative is providing half the funding for the seven year project, which will use remote sensors to analyse soil fertility levels on hill country farms and then follow up with GPS-guided aerial topdressing.

The company says improving hill country productivity and reducing nutrient runoff in that way, could generate $120 million a year in economic benefits by 2030.

AgResearch and Massey University's Precision Agriculture Group are doing the research.

The Government is also putting up half of the money for a $3.5 million project that aims to develop new dairy health products and give a boost to Maori agribusiness.

The three year Whai Hua programme also involves AgResearch in a partnership with Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, which runs 10,000 hectares of dairy and forestry operations in central North Island, and Miraka Ltd, the first Maori-owned dairy processing company, based in the Taupo area.

It will develop natural probiotic dairy products targeting health-conscious consumers here and in Asia.

The economic gain from that is expected to reach more than $8 million a year by 2021.

Between them, the Government and industry bodies have committed more than $670 million to 15 primary growth partnership programmes so far.