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Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies enters ag tech sector serving US cannabis market

The company’s RZTO technology will be piloted in an open field growing scenario in Washington State.
Image of lettuce crops with one using RZTO technology
The difference between the RZTO lettuce crop (left) and a control crop (right)

Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Ltd (ASX:ROO) has entered the ag tech section and will supply its RZTO plant growth technology to the lucrative US cannabis market.

A pilot program will be conducted with American Farms Consulting LLC (AFC) using the Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) technology.

RZTO optimises plant physiology for increased growth, productivity and quality by stabilising the plant’s root zone temperature.

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Shares are up more than 17% intra-day to 34 cents.

The pilot represents Roots’ entry into the ag-tech sector supplying equipment to the US cannabis market.

This sector is currently worth around US$7 billion and is expected to increase to US$22 billion by 2021.

Washington State pilot

The pilot will be installed at Trinidad, Washington, about 200 kilometres southeast of Seattle, in a semi-desert climate characterised by big temperature variations between day and night.

It will consist of the installation and use of RZTO technology and associated products by AFC, a licensed breeding platform for growers for the legal cannabis industry in Washington State.

Roots cooled in open field

The system will cool the roots of cannabis in part of a 30,000 square foot open field licence awarded to the farm owner.

Assuming the pilot is deemed a success, AFC will then purchase the RZTO system for future use.

The pilot is intended to demonstrate the viability of the RTZO system for the cannabis market in general which, if successful, may lead to future products sales for Roots.

Roots CEO Dr Sharon Devir said: “It should demonstrate how the Roots RZTO technology optimises root zone temperatures – in this instance by cooling - until the optimum temperature of the cannabis plant is reached and maintained.”

Planting in July

Planting is scheduled for July 2018 where, even in summer, the temperature difference between hot days and cool nights is high due to the semi-desert topography and elevation of 283 metres.

Results are expected in late September 2019.

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