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Basingstoke inventor solves global farming issue

An inventor from Tadley near Basingstoke has created a novel solution for chemical-free weed control that will allow farmers to mass-produce organic vegetables at a time when the global agricultural industry moves towards a ban on commonly used herbicides.

According to the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the impact of agrochemical withdrawals could cost UK farmers and growers from €100m to €1bn a year across Europe in addition to making it difficult to grow crops such as onions, carrots and leafy salads on an industrial scale.

David Holloway and his company Terraseed Ltd have invented a BioSeedMat using biodegradable paper and starch-based adhesives combined with a unique gel.   The seedmat will allow farmers to produce organic crops on an industrial scale.

Mr Holloway explains: “The withdrawal of herbicides is a very serious issue and could make it very difficult for farmers worldwide, which will ultimately lead to poor quality crops.  The BioSeedMat is a reliable alternative to herbicides and after years of product development, we are nearly ready to launch.”

Field trials are about to commence at Folly Farm in Tadley alongside larger scale trials in Denmark.  If successful, the BioSeedMat will be registered as producing organic crops by the UK Soil Association and will go to market in six months time.
Terraseed needed funding to help with product development and has been supported by Oxford Innovation, a company that connects innovators from the South East of the UK with manufacturers, distributors, co-developers and suppliers overseas via the Enterprise Europe Network programme.

Jakub Rakoczy, Innovation Advisor from Oxford Innovation, said: “We have been delighted to support a business that really could make a difference to farming worldwide. This has involved working closely with David on his business strategy in addition to identifying the need for an Intellectual property audit resulting in more patents to ensure the BioSeedMat is robust and fully protected.”

Mr Holloway has been working on his invention since forming Terraseed in 1999.   The first Terasseed products were successful in their own right, but were not commercially viable.  The latest generation has overcome cost and technical issues and could be available to farmers by the end of 2017.

For further information about Terraseed, visit:
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Notes to editor:
About Oxford Innovation Services and Enterprise Europe Network:
Oxford Innovation Services is a leading provider of coaching and advice to high growth businesses. We have supported over 7,000 ambitious businesses to scale-up delivering over £900m of growth to the UK economy.
Delivered by Oxford Innovation Services, Enterprise Europe Network helps ambitious businesses innovate and grow internationally.  Jointly funded by the European Commission and Innovate UK, our experts advise and connect companies looking to go global, transfer technology and access EU funding.