AgResearch is applying to conduct field trials in Australia for its genetically modified high metabolised energy ryegrass.
AgResearch farm systems scientist Robyn Dynes told a Farmax panel discussing how to match consumer expectation with farm business realities that recent United States trials confirmed the promise shown in the laboratory by high ME ryegrass.
The genetically modified grass grows at twice the rate of conventional ryegrass, stores more energy, has greater drought tolerance and reduces by up to 23% the methane released by animals.
Dynes said the US trials have confirmed that promise but research now needs to be scaled up to field trials to prove its efficacy, hence its application in Australia.
The Ministry for the Environment states that all applications to field test or release a genetically modified organism in New Zealand must be publicly notified and go through a public consultation process.
Dynes said ownership and copyright of High ME ryegrass remains protected.