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In the begining

BioStart was founded in Waikato in February 1994 and, like so many kiwi businesses, it was started by a farmer with an original idea, a give it a go attitude and a spare corner in his shed. This was aided and abetted by an investor who believed in the vision and provided the business smarts to turn the idea into a viable business.  That farmer was Dayne Plummer, and the investor was Bruce Munro, both of whom are still actively involved with the BioStart today. 

 


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                 Founders Dane Plummer and Bruce Munro

Central Philosophy

Dayne has a strong biological focus to farming and believes that sustainably healthy soil is the key to making the most of your farm.  He is particularly interested in harnessing the power of microbes, “your free invisible helpers”, to get the soil chemistry and soil biology to work harmoniously together.  

BioStart uses similar philosophies to tackle animal health and well-being, forage preservation and plant foliar health.  Microbes are central to all aspects of farming and growing.  Plants cannot grow without the help of microbes to absorb nutrients from the soil, there are microbes living both inside and on plant surfaces that are essential to the plant’s survival. Similarly, animals require probiotic bacteria to aid in digesting their food, and the preservation of forage through ensiling relies on the fermentation by bacteria.

Animal Health

The first BioStart product was Calf, an animal health product that BioStart is still selling today.  Calf was the first prebiotic on the market in New Zealand and was launched before scientists even understood what prebiotics were.  Calf, like many of BioStart’s other products, is based on fermentation extracts and works by promoting the growth of good microbes that are already present in the calf’s digestive system and adjusts the balance of these in the gut for the rest of the animal’s life.  Ruminant, for sheep, deer and cattle, and LactoPlus, for lactating, cows and goats, are the two other Biostart animal health products based on similar principles in enhancing the animal’s disgestion and through this their ability to utilise feed efficiently.

Activating your soils

Following on from Calf, BioStart developed several soil biostimulant products (Mycorrcin, Digester, and ThatchBusta).  Once again BioStart was selling these products well before most growers and scientists understood what biostimulants were and what they were capable of doing.  The agricultural and horticultural biostimulant market is now one of the fastest growing segments in the global agrichemical market.  The BioStart soil biostimulant range allows growers to harness the power of the microbes in the soil and improve plant productivity.  These products are widely used in both horticulture and agriculture to provide benefits such as better nutrient uptake, higher quality wine, and improved fruit quality.

Preserving Forages

The next step was to adapt the prebiotic principles and fermentation technologies to develop a product range that enhances forage preservation.  Led by Grant Kay, the BioStart National Ag Manager for the past 25 years, SilageKing was developed as a biostimulant for making pasture and cereal silage. This product activates the lactic acid and acetic acid producing bacteria that occur naturally on the forage, and secondly, it inhibits the activity of spoilage moulds and yeasts that decrease silage quality.  In turn MaizeKing and HayKing were developed for maize silage and hay preservation, respectively.  All three of the forage preservatives were developed and extensively trialled on New Zealand farms with our customer farmers and contractors.

 


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            CEO Jerome Demmer and Head Scientist Chris Chilcott

BioStart Today

Today the BioStart Factory is still based on the farm but is housed in a purpose-built facility that specialising in microbiology and fermentation technology. They have 13 different products that are sold throughout New Zealand and Australia as well as further afield in Italy and Ireland.

CEO, Jerome Demmer, and head of Science, Chris Chilcott, who both have PhDs, carefully plan and oversee production to ensure Biostart’s products meet scientific and regulatory standards and produce consistent and measurable results.  They are also continually developing new products in response to the issues and trends that primary industry producers bring to the team.  Recent examples of this include the BioStart Organic Soil Biostimulant and Forage Preservative product ranges, as well as a new biofertilizer and a biopesticide product for controlling grass grub larvae.

To this end BioStart has invested in a new facility and is developing a range of live microbe products that have the potential to tackle some of the topical issues being faced by New Zealand farmers such as overuse of nitrogen fertilisers and a grass grub biocontrol agent.

25 years of solving productivity issues and improving sustainability through harnessing naturally occurring microbes puts Biostart in the position of being able to help both primary industry and the environment at a time of crucial change.

  • Manufacturing: Morrinsville
  • Head Office: Auckland
  • New Zealand wide: Sales force: 4 Agricultural reps, 3 Horticultural reps
  • Australia: BioStart Brands fully owned subsidiary imports from New Zealand and distributes via rural resellers; 1 sales agent and several distributors provide support in-market

 

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Founding team members Grant Kay (Ag) and Geoff Warmouth (Hort) have been instrumental in the development and distribution of Biostart Products for over 25 years.