Farmers go green

Despite the global recession, the recently published half-year financial statement from Novozymes shows that microorganisms for agriculture are doing well.

”We had great growth in our core Canadian market this past year. That along with excellent performance in our international business really drove the results,” says Trevor Thiessen, Director of BioAgriculture (BioAg) at Novozymes. He is based in Saskatoon, Canada, with around 110 colleagues who are determined to expand microorganisms for agriculture in North America and the rest of the world.

Looking for the alternative solution
The human race is exploiting the planet to the limit of its carrying capacity. Climate change, scarce resources, and limited supply are issues on the agenda. Several things indicate that the world needs Novozymes’ sustainable solutions.

For instance, regulations regarding CO2 emissions and restrictions on the use of certain pesticides have helped to make biological solutions more attractive.

In order to save money, rising prices for fertilizers are encouraging farmers to look for alternative or complementary methods. Rising commodity prices for agricultural produce mean that any increases in yield are now more valuable.

”Part of the improved performance is being in the right place at the right time. The agriculture climate and environment was right for our sales opportunities this past year; high commodity prices, high fertilizer prices, and farmer optimism, based on a good production year in 2008, all led to a very positive outlook for our products,” says Trevor Thiessen.

A cleaner solution
BioAg's primary market is in North America at the moment. Since the acquisition of Philom Bios by Novozymes in 2007, the BioAg microorganisms have been used on more than 2 million hectares. The products are developed, produced, and sold by Novozymes, and include products that increase the uptake of phosphate in a wide range of crops and ensure that legumes fix nitrogen.

Farmers can increase yields and improve the efficiency of the conventional fertilizers they use. The BioAg group aims to help farmers produce more and better food, feed, fuel, and fiber while reducing their environmental footprint to a minimum with products such as TagTeam® and JumpStart®.

”The growth in our JumpStart and TagTeam products were the biggest contributors to our success this year. Canada had the biggest growth and is our largest geography in terms of dollar sales today,” explains Trevor Thiessen.