14 Aug 2013

Ravensdown has hopes for nitrification inhibitor

1:10 pm on 14 August 2013

The Ravensdown fertiliser co-operative is hoping that it will be able to resurrect the nitrification inhibitor it was forced to withdraw because of chemical residues.

But that could be some years away.

Some dairy farmers had been spraying Eco-n on their pasture to reduce nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions.

The company suspended sales at the beginning of the year, after traces of the chemical DCD were found in some dairy products.

Eco-n was one of the sources of the residue.

Ravensdown says withdrawing the product from sale cost it $4 million.

Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell says getting the nitrification inhibitor back in the market will depend on getting an international standard in place under the Codex system to cover its use and and set conditions such as residue levels.

He says there are significant benefits to the country from products such as Eco-n, research shows there is no health risk, and it is a product the company will continue to invest in.

Mr Campbell says getting the Codex in place will take a number of years.

Meanwhile he says Ravensdown has started a wide-ranging review to improve profit and reduce debt after seeing its net profit fall by $46 million to $6 million in the past year.

About half of the profit drop stems from losses in its Australian operations.

It's selling its loss-making Western Australia fertiliser business, as well as its stake in a South Australian joint venture.

But Ravensdown is continuing its fertiliser business in Queensland which is growing.