Could this new herbicide be an alternative to glyphosate? 400M forum

Neil Lyon, November 23, 2018

Nontox non-executive director, John Rivett, presented his case for the commercial development of the new, organic, non-selective herbicide to a ‘shark tank’ panel at the 400M Ag and Food Innovation Forum in Toowoomba, Qld.

AN ORGANIC, non-selective herbicide in the early stages of commercial development could have the potential to address some of the weed resistance issues facing the widely-used farming herbicide, glyphosate.

Labelled Nontox, the new product is a non-toxic, mineral-based herbicide its developers claim can kill all the weeds currently known to be tolerant or resistant to glyphosate, as well as blackberry and lantana.

Backers of the product pitched their case for capital raising to advance the commercialisation of the product to a ‘shark tank’ panel of investor specialists at the 400M Ag and Food Innovation Forum in Toowoomba this week.

Nontox non-executive director, John Rivett, said Nontox was made from “a secret recipe” mix of commonly known and available minerals.

“They are milled into a very fine powder and mixed with a small amount of water to make a paste. When we make the paste there is a reaction with some of the minerals which produces an exothermic reaction which creates heat and juggles molecules from one compound to another. It is almost impossible to reverse engineer once the water is put into it,” he said.

“….there are 26 weeds in Australia that are now either resistant or tolerant to glyphosate…in the testing so far our product has killed all of them on the first application.”

“In the fullness of time we will have to disclose the exact components to put on the labels in certain jurisdictions. So, we have taken the precaution of applying for a patent on the new mixture.”

Mr Rivett said the company had received support from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) through an ‘incubatorship’ at the DPI’s GATE (Global AgriTech Enterprises) at Orange in central west NSW where it was tested over 90 days.

“The upshot is that the product has proven it can kill all the weeds we have trialled it on so far,” he said.

“During the incubator program the DPI told us there were 26 weeds in Australia that are now either resistant or tolerant to glyphosate, and in the testing so far our product has killed all of them on the first application.

“There are no issues with this product in terms of health or environmental issues. It is non-toxic, biodegradable, capable of being certified as organic.”

The question is whether it will be a cost-effective option for wide-scale use in broadacre agriculture, or be limited to targeted applications.

Mr Rivett said they were testing its potential for use in weed-seeking, spot-spraying situations where it was likely to be a viable option.

“We don’t think it will be as price competitive in a broadacre, blanket-spraying sense because it will probably have to be used as a stronger dose. The cost of producing this product is significantly lower (than competitor herbicide), but you will have to use more per square metre in some applications,” he said.

At the moment, the initial product is being made at a micro-mill in a factory in Dubbo, NSW, but the company is seeking to raise $1.5 million to upscale that plant for commercial production.

“There are serious issues in terms of how it’s distributed, how it is sold, what the costings are, what the margins are and what the logistics are. So, we have decided to adopt a conservative approach by raising money to build a bigger factory in our existing shed at Dubbo, and put the product into the market through selling on the internet to clients we have been introduced to by the NSW DPI.

“On the expressions of interest we have, we could sell all the product we could make in the short term.”


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  1. Anthony Wright, August 1, 2021

    Very interested to read this news item on Nontox and as the article appears to be nearly 3 years old I would be very interested in recent updates on development of this product.
    As a vocational trainer/assessor delivering chemical accreditation to people in rural industry I endeavor to maintain currency in innovative and progressive technology in pest control and would welcome any media release details of research trial results and progress in commercial development.

  2. Rolfe Stok, February 2, 2020

    I am extremely interested in your advancements in the area of glyphosate alternative. I would also be interested in trialling your product here in Victoria. Your thoughts

    • Bruce Kennedy, January 13, 2021

      Hi Ralph, I have just come across your posting of a year ago re-Nontox , and would like to talk to you further to bring you up-to-date with our developments – I suspect you’ll find them interesting at least and even exciting – but let me at least give you some further information. Would you please call me on 0412 121 804 so we can discuss further. Kind regards Bruce Kennedy

  3. Tim Burrow, December 6, 2018

    This article makes the absurd claim that this product is non toxic. Everything is toxic at the wrong dose and finely ground minerals are likely to be a lot more toxic to the animal kingdom than glyphosate. This is the sort of “snake oil” sales pitch that takes confidence away from the great scientist in our agricultural industry.

    • Bruce Kennedy, January 13, 2021

      Hi Tim, I can’t help but agree with much of what you say.

      Let me introduce myself firstly. My name is Bruce Kennedy and I have been working with Nontox for a year or so now, but have only just “stumbled“ across your posting here.

      I wasn’t there when this article was written or in fact when the forum was held so can’t comment on the accuracy of the quote attributed to John Rivett, and John has moved on and he’s no longer associated with Nontox Putting that aside, we have made substantial advances in the interim which may be of interest to you.

      Would you be so kind as to give me a call on 0412 121 804 and I’ll be delighted to give you a more up-to-date status on where this product is at.

      Look forward to hearing from you, Kind regards Bruce Kennedy

  4. Don Rackemann, November 27, 2018

    Sustained development funding remains the unknown.

    • Bruce Kennedy, January 13, 2021

      Hi Don, I have only just “stumbled“ across your posting in this arena literally today. You’re dead right in that the first and probably biggest challenge is the funding for all the research and development that needs to be completed before we can move forward to making this a commercial reality. We have however made some big steps forward since your comments were posted here, and I would love to have a quick chat to bring you up-to-date with where we’re at right now. I’d be delighted if you’d call me on 0412 121 804 and give me the opportunity to hear your comments further and let you know what we are doing.

      I look forward to hearing from you, kind regards, Bruce Kennedy.

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