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DLF Seeds invests €14m per anum in future-proofing products

Investing in the research and development of products that will be able to cope with future climate pressures is an issue facing many manufacturers. Photo: Akil Mazumder.

DLF Seeds, the company behind the Johnsons Lawn Seed brand, is channelling investment into research that will bring new lawn seed and fertilisers, designed to meet the challenges posed by climate change, to the market.

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Horticulture

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5 June 2019 | 0

More than 10% of the workforce at DLF Seeds is employed solely in research and development (R&D), with the company committing €14m per annum to pioneering research projects that will supply retailers with lawncare products of the future.

In response to reports – such as a BBC report which claimed that over the next five years there’s a chance we’ll see a 12-month period in which the average global temperature rise could exceed 1.5C – DLF Seeds is making sizeable investments into research and development, with the end goal of producing products that offer high-levels of performance during periods of drought and heavy rainfall.

“Headlines about the accelerating pace of climate change are causing widespread concern within the scientific community, and consumers are understandably worried about the effect of weather extremes on gardens.

“We are running an extensive research programme that is investigating grass varieties that will tolerate the types of extreme conditions that are expected in the future. New products that deliver proven results, despite challenging growing conditions, hold the key to future growth in lawncare, and give retailers the confidence to dedicate floorspace to this important category.”, said Guy Jenkins of Johnson’s Lawn Seed.

A Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) report, “Gardening in a Changing Climate”, underpinned the need for new grass seed that will thrive in erratic weather conditions. The study predicted “extreme rainfall events” that may lead to water-logging and flash-flooding; while hot, dry spells are tipped to increase, resulting in water shortages. Milder springs and autumns may extend the growing season – potentially expanding the lawncare sales season for retailers.

DLF Seeds’ investment in R&D has already led to a major lawn fertiliser launch this year – an organic, triple-action lawn fertiliser called Super Smart Lawn Feed.

Significant collaboration and scientific research went into the product, which uses beneficial bacteria, Azospirillum, to fix nitrogen to roots; soluble mycorrhizae, which can increase the root system by 150 times; and seaweed extract, for dense, green growth.

One of the R&D team’s notable success stories is a tetraploid lawn seed. It has three times as much energy as ordinary seeds, and it’s faster to germinate and establish, even at temperatures as low as 3C, while offering the benefits of improved colour, better drought-tolerance, and deeper rooting, which leads to a lower requirement for watering and feeding.

Climate change will bring with it, amongst other issues, uncertainty; investing in the future is the step that manufacturers now need to take.

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