Agri-business developer Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (ASX: ROO), is expanding its Australian distribution network courtesy of Adam Water Solutions, after the two firms announced a non-exclusive agreement to distribute Roots’ ‘Root Zone Temperature Optimization’ (RZTO) products.
Adam Water has agreed to sell, distribute and install Roots’ two-in-one root zone heating and cooling technology across Australia with the aim of increasing crop yields significantly at low rates of energy consumption.
The distribution agreement includes two-installation pilots covering eight different crops and a proof of concept demonstration using young apricot trees. Root’s pilot project is expected to commence in April 2018 with performance results to be made available thereafter.
According to Roots, the company is pioneering an entirely new proof of concept on apricot trees at its test site in Perth. If successful, Roots’ RTZO technology could open the door for several million dollars per annum in future revenue and a successful expansion of its distribution network which already includes Southern Europe and the Middle East.
Roots intends to successfully trial its technology in Australia given the strong climatic similarities between Australia and Israel, the location of its original development and early test work. Eventually, Roots intends to distribute its technology on a global scale.
A large part of the reason why agri-business is attracting so much attention is because of food security amidst a growing global population. Crop yields are struggling to maintain consistency given the growing demand for food and this is inducing more spending on farming aides in the form of fertilizers.
RTZO products aim to improve operational conditions for farmers including plant climate management to optimize crop yields, increased speed to market, and addressing irrigation water shortages. More specifically, RZTO technology optimizes plant physiology for increased growth, productivity and quality by stabilising the plant’s root zone temperature.
Leveraging the principle of Ground Source Heat Exchange (GSHE), Roots installs a closed-loop system of pipes. The lower part is installed at a depth where soil temperature is stable and not affected by weather extremes, and the upper part in the target crop’s root zone just below the soil surface. Water flowing through the lower pipes is charged by the soil’s stable temperature. Water is then pumped through the pipes installed in the root zone, and heats in the winter and cools in the summer.
The method proposed by Roots has improved crop yields by as much as 50% and reduced energy costs by 80% compared to existing heating and cooling solutions, by effectively mitigating extreme heat and cold stress and shortening growing cycles.
“This Australian distribution agreement and pilot program is a key part of our global expansion plans. It builds upon similar agreements in additional markets in Southern Europe and the Middle East. Australia has a proud history of agricultural innovation, so we are pleased that Australia, the country we listed our company in, will now be able to take advantage of our technology, which will help farmers address critical problems they face,” said Dr Sharon Devir, Roots CEO and Co-founder.
“We expect that once we successfully showcase our technology in Australian conditions that significant orders will follow – especially for farmers in the agricultural production areas across Australia,” he added.