Fonterra and Nestlé are collaborating with DairyNZ to diversify a promising plantain trial to aid ameliorate waterways and alleviate on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and Nitrogen. Adopting certain types of plantain into a cow’s diet has been shown to lower the concentration of nitrogen in their urine, which can leach into groundwater through soil.

To analyze the advantages in local pastures, the company has been running the Tararua Plantain Project in the lower North Island, where farmers have been planting the leafy herb for their cows. The Ministry for Primary Industries is also as a major contributor hereon. The companies are assisting to widen the project further via additional financing and by sharing prowess.

Fonterra’s Director of On-Farm Excellence Charlotte Rutherford asserted- “We are all about hunting ways to make sure that Aotearoa New Zealand has a prosperous environment and a flourishing farming economy. We can accomplish more by joining forces with others, so it is great to partner with DairyNZ and Nestlé. This is aiding to hasten up the implementation of plantain by farmers. Eventually, it could be an actual game-changer to alleviate nitrogen from cows and help reduce nitrous oxide releases.”

The new alliance is assisting to speed up the uptake of Ecotain – an amalgamation of environmentally functional plantain cultivators generated by seed company Agricom. At present, 50 Tararua farms have begun to use plantain, via the Tararua Plantain Project. With the funding boost from Fonterra and Nestlé, it is anticipated that these farms and more will augment the quantities they produce, thus multiplying the earnings.

Ecotain has been utilized in researches by the company, Agricom, Lincoln University, Massey University and AgResearch, with results depicting that it can remarkably mitigate nitrogen leaching. Initial studies also portray that it has the ability to lessen on-farm GHG discharges through the alleviation of nitrous oxide, which is propitious news for peasants.

The company desired to be engaged in the Tararua project given the commitments it has made around sustainability.

“Toiling with our suppliers and others is vital for accomplishing Nestlé’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Minimizing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and conserving waterways will aid us in getting there and we are elated to collaborate with Fonterra and DairyNZ on this drive,” Nestlé’s Robert Erhard stated.

The project also aims on enhancing understanding of how farmers can adopt Ecotain triumphantly and involving farmers via workshops, events and a national farmer network to broaden knowledge.  As the industry good body representing dairy farmers, the company funds notably in sustainability research. The company’s general manager for New Systems and Competitiveness, David McCall, affirms that the dairy sector has a diverse array of tasks underway to lower nitrates entering waterways and alleviate on-farm emissions.

“The seven-year long Tararua Plantain Project is a flagship scheme for the dairy segment. It is coming up with real, concrete outcomes valued by farmers. The project has community at its heart as it wants water quality ameliorations, while making sure the dairy sector carries on functioning as an economic pillar within the local community. It is marvellous to have additional assistance from Fonterra and Nestlé within the Tararua locale,” declares Dr McCall.


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