Evogene Ltd. and CNH Industrial Latin America Ltda., a subsidiary of CNH Industrial N.V., announced the ongoing cooperation between CNH Industrial and Evofuel Ltd., Evogene's wholly-owned subsidiary. This cooperation involves the development of an efficient, easy-to-adopt combine solution for the large-scale harvesting of Evofuel castor bean varieties in Latin America. The collaboration between CNH Industrial and Evofuel was initiated in 2012 and has recently been extended for an additional year.

Currently in its prototype phase, the final product, when released, will come to market under the Case IH brand. Case IH is a brand of CNH Industrial which globally produces agricultural machinery including tractors, combine harvesters, sugar cane, coffee and cotton harvesters, planters and sprayers.

The availability of a combine for castor bean harvesting is a key factor for the large-scale adoption of castor as a sustainable and economically viable crop. The collaboration between the two companies is set to introduce a customised solution based on adaptations to CNH Industrial's brands' existing grain combine harvesters, including one pass reaping and threshing. The prototype combine is custom-designed to harvest Evofuel proprietary dwarf castor varieties that are uniquely suitable for mechanized harvest.

"The market opportunity of castor beans as a sustainable and economically viable feedstock alternative for the growing biofuel market is substantial, and addresses one of the world's most significant challenges of fuel dependency. Currently however, the available seed varieties and the requirement to harvest castor beans by hand have been major roadblocks to the large-scale adoption of castor beans as a sustainable and economically viable crop for this purpose," said Corrado Mida, Business Development Director of CNH Industrial Latin America.

"Through our joint work with CNH Industrial, we are addressing the significant hurdles in this field, showcasing the company's innovative approach to farming equipment and the advanced breeding capabilities of Evofuel to develop a proprietary castor seed variety designed to meet the requirements for large scale, mechanized commercialization," commented Assaf Oron, General Manager of Evofuel.

Recently over 200 acres of pre-commercial testing fields of Evofuel proprietary castor varieties were harvested in northeast Brazil using a prototype of CNH's custom-made combine solution. These pre-commercial activities also included validation by BioOleo, a leading crusher in Brazil, confirming that the grain harvested meets customer requirements for the down-stream industrial process.

The collaboration is set to support additional pre-commercial harvesting activities planned to take place in Brazil in 2015 as Evofuel progresses towards commercial availability of its proprietary castor bean varieties, expected to take place during 2016.