The company name – Dual Chelate – reflects this dual-action approach, which co-founder Manjula N U Don says results in a much better outcome for crop producers.
“Our patented dual chelation technology delivers highly efficient nutrient formulations to horticulture, viticulture and broadacre farming systems,” Manjula says.
“Essentially, we use two technologies hand in hand to create a much more efficient fertiliser. Our research has led to products which give growers a far better result for essentially the same cost as using a single-chelation fertiliser.”
The business is based in Robinvale in the Sunraysia region where Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia meet. This tri-state region is one of the major intensive horticulture production areas of Australia, where the majority of Australia’s almonds, table grapes, wine grapes, dried grapes and citrus are grown. Dual Chelate has a business goal of eventually being able to service 75% of Australia’s horticulture regions.
Growth takes investment
Dual Chelate has been on a rapid growth path since it was established, expanding from its primary base in Robinvale to include a new administration and warehouse complex in Port Adelaide, a presence in NSW and production, storage and distribution facility in Queensland. In addition to existing trucks & B-double tanker fleet, the business is considering adding a new fleet of B-doubles to serve Queensland.
“We expect to remain in this growth phase for another three years, and then after that, our focus will come back to an even better customer experience and outstanding technical support,” Manjula says.
“CommBank has been a great partner to us during the rapid expansion phase. It’s important to have a bank that really understands what you are trying to achieve, and we have that in CommBank.
The team is deeply connected to the agri industry, and that means the bank has been able to support us to make some big investments. Their staff are very experienced and the quality of the customer service has been very good.”
Service and support go hand in hand
Manjula says what sets the business apart is its willingness to invest heavily in R&D and support its customers not only with the product but with insights and better service.
As an example, he says Dual Chelate has invested in its own fleet of bulk tankers to deliver more than five million litres of product within the short period of spring months. Deliveries are timed to match the production schedules of growers, often coinciding with their water deliveries.
“It’s critically important that these products get to a farm at the right time, and that’s hard to guarantee with a third-party service, which is why we do it ourselves,” Manjula says.
The business also employs agronomists across Australia to help customers plan their crop nutrition approach. It is one of the few fertiliser companies in Australia to maintain an ISO 9001:2015 standard in fertiliser manufacturing.
The power of research
Dual Chelate’s 100+ products are the result of extensive research and testing. “We work with researchers and have created our own patented technology. The business is only six years old, but we have completed more than 60 documented and statistically validated trials in a variety of crops.”
In addition to delivering better yield impacts for growers, Manjula says Dual Chelate also contributes to reducing fertiliser overuse.
“When you use fertiliser, it leaves residues on the leaves, fruits or other edible parts but also in the soil and could also leach into the natural waterways. There is a huge global issue around product waste and overuse and environmental detriment from runoff. We focus on creating products that are far more efficient than other foliar-applied products derived from sustainable and organic sources; (fertilisers are produced using amino acid from sustainable sources of soybean and corn) so, you can achieve greater results with less product.”
The business operates on a sustainable, waste-free model, with the waste used to fertilise grapes from an integrated 33-acre farm.
“Our mission is to be the most respected supplier in the plant nutrient industry, always focusing on the best interest of the end-users,” Manjula says.
“We’re excited to continue to advance our technical expertise to increase efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective crop production.”