New Zealand’s sheep, cattle and deer will be eating better in coming years.
The New Zealand Government is to invest $7.3 million over five years in an agricultural research partnership to improve pasture grasses and lift the performance of livestock farming, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced.
Pastoral Genomics is an industry-led research partnership between DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Grasslands Innovation, NZ Agriseeds, DEEResearch, AgResearch and Dairy Australia. It’s objective is to provide pastoral farmers with better forage cultivars that will increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems.
Government funding is provided through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s research partnerships programme and will be matched by industry funding.The investment will contribute to the Business Growth agenda goal of increasing the ratio of exports to GDP for the benefit of New Zealanders.
“New Zealand farmers are the best in the world, but we need to keep innovating and investing in scientific research to maintain this,” says Guy.
The partnership intends to use non-regulated biotechnologies, including genomic selection that does not involve genetic modification, to help progress breeding and commercialisation of high-performing forages for grazing livestock. The forage cultivars are expected to have improved nutritional content and be more resilient to drought and disease.