WALNUT, Calif., Nov. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- VIASPACE Inc. (OTC: VSPC) has been working intensively on growing Giant King® Grass (GKG) in California at the VIASPACE nursery, the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center, and with our partner Almaden Energy Group, LLC (AEG) for the past six months. This press release outlines the progress so far in this effort.
A detailed analysis of GKG for animal feed has been conducted using GKG grown at the VIASPACE nursery and independently at University of California research farm in Holtville, CA. This study, done in concert with professional agronomists and animal nutritionists, helped determine the optimum time to harvest so as to maximize yield and feed value and thus revenue. The study included analysis of dozens of samples, taken at various maturities, for the yield as well as for the concentration of over thirty different nutrients and minerals. Peak nutritional value and yield versus maturity were determined.
In addition to the nutrition studies, GKG at UC Holtville was mechanically harvested using a conventional swather, dried in the field and then baled into hay. Some GKG bales were sent to a local dairy for feed trials and some were used to produce animal feed pellets using a commercial pellet company. The pellets were analyzed for nutritional content and palatability. Animal feed can be used in the form of fresh chopped GKG, silage, hay or pellets. Samples of GKG from multiple harvests in 2015 have been provided to local farmers and successfully fed to cows, goats and pigs. The nutrition analysis shows that GKG is also suitable for horses.
AEG has leased a twenty-six acre plot of land in Imperial County, CA and also engaged a professional grower to grow Giant King Grass. Twenty acres were planted in August 2015 utilizing several different techniques and planting densities. Both manual and automated planting techniques were utilized. Careful measurement of the cost and effectiveness of each technique has been performed. This is a necessary step prior to scaling GKG for large production acreage. Additional planting techniques have been tested in October and more will be tested in spring of 2016. Testing to determine optimum harvesting and baling techniques will be carried out in the first half of 2016. Furthermore, these 26 acres have been outfitted with equipment to accurately measure water utilization and confirm the water efficiency of GKG on a larger scale.
A second smaller plot of land has been planted in California's Central Valley in the heart of the largest and most concentrated dairy region within the United States. Dairies are particularly sensitive to the nutritional content of their feed and usually benefit the most from quality feed with high protein content. The purpose of this plot is to determine if GKG can be cost effectively grown this far north in a climate that is significantly cooler than Imperial County. We are working closely with a major dairy and their professional nutritionists to establish the value of GKG within the dairy industry. If GKG can be cost effectively grown in this region, it may be able to replace crops that consume far greater amounts of water than GKG, thus alleviating a crucial water shortage in that region.
VIASPACE Chief Executive Officer, Haris Basit, stated, "VIASPACE is excited about the potential for using GKG as animal feed. Early tests indicate that GKG provides high quality animal nutrition using less acreage and water than existing forage crops. This potentially addresses the most important problems facing agriculture in California today. We have gotten excellent cooperation from major dairies and are hopeful that animal feed will open up a new major market for us."
VIASPACE board chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "We have strategically divided our business into two lines, animal feed and bioenergy. We believe that animal feed will represent an expedient and economically viable pathway to drive our business forward. VIASPACE and AEG are investing the necessary effort and resources to insure that we are responsible for our own success in commercializing GKG for animal feed. I am very pleased with the entrepreneurship and business enterprise skills that Mr. Basit has brought to VIASPACE. We mutually understand and agree on the importance and priority to get more significant revenues moving through this company. VIASPACE will be providing an update on energy related projects separately in the coming weeks."
AEG is focused on commercializing GKG for animal feed within the continental United States. AEG and VIASPACE have equity ownership in each other, three VIASPACE board members are also board members in AEG, and Haris Basit is CEO of both VIASPACE and AEG.
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE grows renewable Giant King® Grass as a low-carbon fuel for clean electricity generation; for environmentally friendly energy pellets; and as a feedstock for bio-methane production and for green cellulosic biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials. Giant King® Grass is a proprietary, high yield, dedicated biomass energy crop. Giant King® Grass when it is cut frequently at 4 to 5 feet tall is also excellent animal feed. The USDA granted approval for planting Giant King® Grass throughout the US and cooperates in exporting by performing the required inspections and issuing the phytosanitary certificate needed for import into foreign countries. Giant King® Grass is being grown in California, Hawaii, St. Croix Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, South Africa, China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines and Guyana. For more information, please go to www.VIASPACE.com or contact Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications, at 800-517-8050 or IR@VIASPACE.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Information in this news release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, risks outlined in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.
SOURCE VIASPACE Inc.