For immediate release
15 June 2018
A plantain that started life as a common weed has been recognised for its contribution to the future of farming with an
Innovation Award from Fieldays.
Ecotain is an environmentally functional plantain that significantly reduces nitrogen leaching on livestock farms. It
was officially launched in September 2017 when proprietary seed company Agricom announced major research findings that
showed Ecotain reduces nitrogen leaching from the urine patch, an area containing high concentrations of nitrogen from
Ecotain won the Launch NZ Innovation Award, which recognises innovative products being launched into New Zealand’s
agricultural market. Each year, the Innovation Awards attract dozens of entries across multiple categories, and winners
are announced at the Innovation Breakfast.
This year also marks Fieldays’ 50th year of showcasing agriculture and innovation, with the theme being the “Future of
Initial research from Agricom, alongside Lincoln and Massey universities and Plant + Food Research, found Ecotain can
function in pasture systems to reduce nitrogen leaching in four ways, known as dilute, reduce, delay and restrict.
Consuming Ecotain increases the volume of cows’ urine which dilutes the concentration of nitrogen, it reduces the total
amount of dietary nitrogen in animals’ urine, it delays the process of turning ammonium into nitrate in the urine patch,
and it restricts the accumulation of nitrate in soils growing Ecotain.
Agricom’s lead scientist Dr Glenn Judson says he’s proud to receive the Innovation Award as acknowledgement of a “big
year” for his team.
“As with most research projects, Ecotain has been a hugely collaborative effort and we are fortunate to have the support
and expertise of some of New Zealand’s best researchers and scientists joining us along the way.”
He says the Innovation Award tops off the positive industry response Ecotain has received so far.
“It’s great to see excitement in the industry that finally we may have a tool to solve nitrate leaching from livestock
farms, and receiving the Innovation Award tells us we’re moving in the right direction.”
New Zealand National Fieldays CEO Peter Nation says the awards judges were impressed with Ecotain’s scientific backing
and the potential it has for the future of farming in New Zealand.
“It was clear a lot of research had gone into developing Ecotain, and given the theme of Fieldays this year – the Future
of Farming – it was great to see science being used with the future of farming in mind,” says Mr Nation.
“One of the reasons New Zealand is so well-regarded for its agricultural innovations is because those within the
industry aren’t afraid to step outside the box and think about solutions to problems in a different way.
“My congratulations to Ecotain and to all of the Innovation Awards winners this year.”
The Fieldays Innovation Awards highlights innovation across several industry areas, including dairy and drystock
farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile-based software, animal health and
genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and leading