New Avian Deterrent Grass Wins DuPont Innovation Award

An avian deterrent grass being commercialised by PGG Wrightson Turf has scooped the Australasian DuPont Innovation Award for Performance Materials, which recognises the commercialisation of outstanding science and technology in Australasia.

This exciting new innovation marketed under the brand name AvanexTM  unique endophyte technology and developed by AgResearch, is an endophyte – infected grass which deters birds and insects from feeding on it.

The attributes of this novel endophyte serve to dramatically reduce bird populations at airports, thereby potentially reducing bird strikes on aircraft and also has the potential for use in non-airport situations such as sportsfields and golf courses that experience fouling by ducks and geese.

The endophyte, a naturally occurring fungus, is repellent to birds, greatly reducing feeding and flocking to grassy areas.  The innovative grass also reduces insect numbers on the grass and as a result the area is less attractive to insect-feeding birds.

“This is a remarkable international accolade for a technology developed in New Zealand by AgResearch, holding potentially significant safety benefits for airports and sports facilities worldwide,” says Cameron Henley, Business Manager for PGG Wrightson Turf. “We are proud to be a part of the development of this exciting technology and to bring AvanexTM unique endophyte technology to the market.”

This innovative product was nominated by Grasslanz Technology which recognised the input from PGG Wrightson Turf, AgResearch, The Foundation for Arable Research and Christchurch International Airport who all were involved in its development. In accepting the award on behalf of the development team, Dr Chris Pennell of AgResearch said developing the seeds required PGG Wrightson Turf to fund production and contribute their expertise in seed production and marketing. “It is a great example of science and commercial interests aligning towards a positive outcome.” 

PGG Wrightson Turf is a New Zealand based business and is an industry leader in the Australasian turf seed market. “Our business contributes a significant amount to research and development, supporting the ongoing development of innovative solutions to the benefit of  our clients,” says Mr Henley.

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