A local company from Tzaneen, DuxAgri (Pty) Ltd and the DR Mattison Farms Group in Port Edward set a new world record with the production of a 50,4% sound macadamia kernel. A sound kernel is the percentage of palatable nut that can be sold.
DuxAgri belongs to the brothers Charlie and Gregory Bender, who own a macadamia farm in Hamawasha.
The break-through is achieved by applying the Harpin technology through the product Messenger at the correct physiological time and triggering a false alarm throughout the plant, leading it to think it is under a major pathogen attack. It naturally increases its photosynthesis and nutrient uptake ability to improve the amount of oil and quality in the nut. This leads to a better nut-to-shell ratio for the next offspring/generation.
The product can be applied every 21 days from pre-flowering with a minimum of four applications for record-breaking results.
In 2013 local researcher Mr Charlie Bender started with trials at Mr Richard Mattison’s farm near Port Edward. The two knew each other from studying together at Lowveld College (Nelspruit) and became good friends when they discovered their fathers used to be in the same SA clay pigeon team.
The Messenger trials started on small blocks on the farm testing the product on different macadamia varieties, as Messenger had never been tested before on macadamias worldwide.
A protocol was drawn up, showing times of application and dosage to see which dose and time worked best. With trial and error the results came back showing an increase in crack-out versus untreated plants and the trees were much healthier. Mattison has over 600 ha of macadamias and plans to start using the product on all his production blocks.
In 2014 Mattison used Messenger again and saw his crack-out get even better. The results were so good it earned him a world record in 2015. He now uses four applications of 150 g per ha and is achieving incredible crack-outs and is really impressed how Messenger has helped improve his profits and tree health. He has also noticed the application of Messenger on young trees helps with vegetated growth getting trees into production quicker.
Messenger, a plant health regulator, is the first product of an entirely new class of crop production technology. It offers growers a highly effective and environmentally sound tool to improve yields and regulate overall plant health. Harpin, the active ingredient in Messenger, is one of a class of proteins produced in nature by certain bacterial plant pathogens. The Harpin protein binds to a plant’s early warning receptors, stimulating the plant to act. The plant responds by sending a signal (or message) throughout itself, initiating a sequence of physiological and biochemical reactions.
These reactions activate both growth and stress-defense pathways within the plant. By triggering this false alarm throughout the plant, the plant starts to produce seeds/nuts for its offspring/next generation. This false alarm causes the plant to naturally increase its photosynthesis and nutrient uptake ability to improve the amount of oil and quality in the nut.
Messenger has been extensively tested on more than 40 crops in hundreds of field trials and thousands of greenhouse studies. The manufacturers are Plant Health Care and all their products are made in the USA with over 180 million dollars spent on development and research. They have over 35 different patents protecting its technology.
DuxAgri has always focused on grain crops in the past where the majority of research was done, but are now leading the way with huge results in subtropical crops, citrus, pecan nuts, vegetables and macadamias. They are looking forward to other exciting crops such as pineapples.