AgResearch investing $25 million to grow healthier farm animals with more nutritious ryegrass

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In New Zealand, AgResearch scientists aided by a five-year $25 million grant are enhancing ryegrass to produce healthier animals, better production on the farm and less impact on the environment. The grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund, along with funding from AgResearch and other stakeholders is supporting the genetically modified forages research.

Dr. Tony Conner, the Forage Science Group Leader at AgResearch and one of New Zealand’s leading plant scientists said, “What we are doing is enhancing the ryegrass so that there is more energy and nutrition stored in the grass. This means the animals feeding on it are healthier, and therefore they become better producers for the farm. The result will be a major boost for the agricultural economy.”

Additional benefits from the genetically-modified ryegrass are less methane production by the animals and the change in nitrogen requirements with these grasses could reduce nitrate runoff.