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World body awards patent to Gisborne man's ground-breaking product

A patent for a new soil rehabilitation product made from wood slash, invented by a Gisborne man, has been accepted.

Dugald Hamilton is over the moon.

“For the first three days after I heard, I felt like I was walking around all wonky.”

Initially, he heard back from the international patent examiner a few months ago that they did not accept his claims.

“But we have the right of reply and during that period we were able to convince them with a compelling argument, that all claims are novel and inventive and have industrial applicability.”

His next step is to apply for rights for 152 countries.

“The areas where I see opportunity are Vietnam, Syria and the Ukraine (where) there are big areas developing intensely.”

His new soil rehabilitation product, called Respond, naturally replaces nitrogen in the soil — the major nutrient that all plants need to grow.

Respond can grow and store 100 percent of plant-available nitrogen.

The product is made from wood slash, combining live bacteria, live fungi and other additives in a liquid solution that can be applied to the root zone as a soil revitalisation compound.

“Respond unlocks phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients found in the soil, turning them into a plant-available form and storing both them and water,” Mr Hamilton said.

“This creates an ‘on-line’ availability of food and water to ensure continuous growth production.”

He started to develop the product more than 30 years ago while changing a large vineyard from chemical management to organic/biodynamic.

Mr Hamilton says the compound is applied to root systems of host plants. With proper management, one application of the product lasts for the life of the plant.

Trials and feedback continue to be positive.

Dairy giant Fonterra has been trialling it in the North Island and has now started trials in the South Island.

Trials produce strong results, consistently“These trials have really produced strong results over six trial sites. Each data gather is growing in intensity so now Fonterra is testing on a larger scale.”

Another trial block is on macadamia nuts, a growing horticulture industry here — especially on Maori land.

“I was invited to speak to a group of landowners about my macadamia nut trial where they are using Respond and cover crop technology to get instant revenue flow off the land.

There are two main benefits — they are powering up the soil for trees while supplying income. They are storing water, not using fertiliser and increasing the value of their crop.”

He is also running trials in Malaysia with nut trees, bananas, pineapple, native rehabilitation and sustainability with a plant tissue laboratory in Borneo.

The results and the patent arriving are a “perfect storm”.

Mr Hamilton has people contacting him from all over the world and is on the programme to do a Ted X talk entitled Change The Way We Grow.

Investors are in the wings as he awaits results from Everidge IP, which assesses the value of a product.

Behind his success is a complete change of lifestyle.

“The two biggest things I have done is stopped drinking (alcohol) and developed self-awareness.” Being dyslexic, he is resilient.

“I have had to find ways to make sure I remain confident.”

His mobile phone and the Grammarly app are two of his best allies.

“The biggest surprise is that I have been able to do this.”

He says people like Steve Voysey (grapegrower and winemaker) and Fraser Moore, a farmer at Whatatutu, organic grower Colin Alder and the people behind Whangara Farms, Judco Ltd, Cedenco and Mangatu Blocks have been integral in his success.

“They have given me a chance to work on their properties so I have been able to adapt my product.”

The results with the product in even just a short six-week window are close to unbelievable and the product life-changing, he says.

“The thing is that there are so many issues in the world and it all comes back to what we eat and the soil is where that comes from. We need to get the balance back into the soil. I truly believe that if I could take Respond worldwide, it could reverse the effects of climate change in five years.” “Look at how we stopped using plastic bags overnight — just like that.”

HAPPY MAN: Gisborne man Dugald Hamilton is over the moon his patent for his invented soil rehabilitation product Respond has now been accepted and he is now applying for rights for 152 countries. The product is made from wood slash.Gisborne Herald file picture
WORMS GALORE: One treatment of Dugald Hamilton’s soil rehabilitation product Respond (in winter) and six weeks later, this is soil structure on a dairy farm in Whatawhata in the Waikato. The trial was installed on May 6 and this photo was taken on June 18. Small white baby worms can be seen everywhere. Picture supplied