Harnessing the Magic of Magnets for Higher Crop Coverage in New Zealand

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the ongoing critical need for a good quality supply of food and water in New Zealand as well as across the world. International labour shortages and tightening income streams means farmers are again looking for ways to reduce labour reliance without any negative effect on productivity.

A recurring problem for farmers is crop spraying wastage with up to 70 per cent of conventional pesticide spraying not hitting or staying on the target crop. New market entrant from Ireland MagGrow is overcoming this challenge with magnetic-assisted spraying technology that can be retrofitted to existing sprayers as well as installed on new sprayers.

The technology passes pesticides through magnetic fields under appropriate flow conditions and changes the physical properties of the fluid to optimise the spray droplets and deliver both superior spray drift control and crop coverage. Increased spray coverage performance can range from 36% to over 100% compared to conventional spraying.

An added benefit is that farmers using the system are also reducing their water usage by up to 50 per cent and extending their spray windows. Farmers are typically seeing a return of investment of less than a year just on chemical savings alone as well as healthier and less diseased crops due to the higher crop coverage. The increased coverage supports a reduction in labour requirements.

Gary Wickham, Co-Founder & CEO of MagGrow explains: “The original idea came from a gentleman named Ted Lenhardt an Agriculturalist and Entrepreneur now in his eighties who remains very interested in our business. The technology has been created and commercialised to help farmers meet both their individual profitability and sustainability goals and to support the sustainable intensification of food production globally which is what we need to do in this world if we are to solve the greatest food and water challenges this planet will face.

“New Zealand has always been on our radar as a big agricultural country and critically an early adopter of innovation and new technology. We are hoping to soon install our systems onto key customer farms where we will demonstrate our technology” he adds.

MagGrow is working with Trimble dealers in New Zealand and is supported locally by Enterprise Ireland. A finalist in the Fieldays 2020 Innovation Awards, the company is looking forward to developing relationships across New Zealand.

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