Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited (ASX: ROO, Roots or Company) has successfully used its Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) cooling technology to increase the harvest yield of basil plants by 30 percent under extreme heat in the Arava desert in Israel.
While basil is grown and harvested in warmer months, the plant is highly susceptible to extreme weather conditions, leading to high mortality rates for producers and unprofitable farming practices. Using RZTO cooling technology, Roots was able to reduce plant mortality by more than 60%, resulting in a 30 percent increase in yield compared to un-cooled control crops.
The positive results follow previous tests in winter near the Mediterranean Coast where Roots’ RZTO technology was used to heat the roots of basil to increase yields by 66 percent and average plant size by 35 percent. In addition, a 30 percent subsidy has been provided to basil growers by the Israeli Government under the Precision Ag Program. It is a collaboration between the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance, which is investing AU$17.6m (NIS $45m) in innovative agtech and machinery.
Roots CEO, Dr Sharon Devir said, “The basil cooling test results reaffirms Roots’ product offering and validates the value we can offer producers year-round. Our RZTO cooling technology significantly improves yield on a range of crops, including basil, when compared to uncontrolled crops and saves on plant replacement costs due to reduced risk of mortality rates from volatile weather conditions.
“RZTO offers options for producers’ with increased planting cycles during traditional off-seasons and provides significant savings on energy costs when compared to commonly used air heating and cooling systems.
RZTO cooled basil crop (left) vs uncooled basil crop at a commercial farm in the Arava desert, Israel