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Agriculture and food
Dynamic Lifter fertiliser
organic fertiliser made from chook manure

In 1969 Norm Jennings realised that while chooks couldn't lay golden eggs, the stuff at the bottom of the cage was almost as good. It took another 15 years to work out ways to convert chook poo into Dynamic Lifter, a fertiliser that's easy to package, transport and use.

To keep the droppings as dry as possible, he redesigned the birds' drinking trays to stop water from splashing onto the floor. He then used his engineering skills to develop machines to cure and sterilise the droppings and turn them into pellets, and that's the secret of Dynamic Lifter's international success. The catchy name was devised by Norm's wife and business partner, Nadia.

The company negotiated agreements with poultry farmers in the region around each of the factories. In return for a contract to buy chicken droppings, the company installed its patented equipment in the farmer's sheds. Farmers benefit from the arrangement because Dynamic Lifter's drinking system for chickens keeps the manure dry and eliminates pollution and blowfly problems. The company collects manure from each of the farms on a regular basis and trucks it to the factory site to be cured and processed.

Field trials in the 1970s demonstrated the outstanding success of Dynamic Lifter, and it was sold in bulk to farmers and orchardists. In the late 1980s bagged pellets began selling in supermarkets and plant nurseries to home gardeners. Dynamic Lifter is made under licence in the USA and exported from Australian factories to Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

In 1995, the Jennings sold their technology and rights to Dynamic Lifter for $18.8 million.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
Dynamic Lifter Fertilisers Pty Limited : R&D, manufacture
Key People
Norm Jennings : director, research Nadia Jennings : director

Further Reading
Making it: innovation and success in Australia's industries
R Renew Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 1993, pp 9-17

Patent example
Yates Australia
Biological Farmers of Australia

Questions & Activities
Dynamic Lifter fertiliser

Piles of chicken droppings are the raw materials for dynamic lifter. Powerhouse Museum. Photo by Jane Townsend.
Dynamic Lifter products and some of the producers. Powerhouse Museum. Photo by Andrew Frolows.
Norm and Nadia Jennings, who built a business empire out of chook poo. Powerhouse Museum. Photo by Jane Townsend.
The production process removes unwanted micro-organisms and enriches the fertiliser with desirable ones. Courtesy Dynamic Lifter (NSW) Pty Ltd.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum