Research and development

Why we need to talk about GM

[13 September/The Country] According to Sir Peter Gluckman, the debate over whether to use genetically edited grasses to combat greenhouse gases was more philosophical than scientific. He said New Zealand needed a national conversation about using GMOs in agriculture. He added consumers would still want to eat products from animals that had grazed on genetically...

From accident to bold plans – Kiwi biotech company takes science to market

[31 August/NZ Herald] Waikato based startup, Synthase Biotech, accidentally discovered an enzyme. The discovered enzyme, Aloxyn, could be turned into a weapon against some of the major health and wellbeing issues such as arteriosclerosis, dementia, infertility, and fatty liver disease. The company, Synthase, is aimed to develop and commercialise human drug applications, and fulfil its...

New ag investment fund launched

[21 August/Farmers Weekly] According to Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, the Government’s new primary sector investment programme would amalgamate the best of the Sustainable Farming Fund and Primary Growth Partnership. The $40 million a year fund was launched by Mr O’Connor. He said its primary funding criteria was improving product value or understanding. He also released...

Gene editing could herald new green revolution

[20 July/Euro Fruit] CRISPR breeding technologies have the potential of making fresh produce more appealing and healthier. In a new paper, researchers discuss the ability to fast breed with CRISPR gene editing to create an array of superior fruit and create the next green revolution. It does not rely on the addition of new DNA...

AgResearch field-testing GM ryegrass in United States

[13 July/Radio NZ] According to New Zealand scientists who were trialling a genetically modified grass in the United States, the plant could be a game changer for agriculture. Laboratory trials found the high metabolisable energy ryegrass grew up to 50 percent faster than conventional ryegrass. According to AgResearch, it stored more energy, was more resistant...

Time to reignite GE debate in New Zealand, says Sir Peter Gluckman

[1 July/NZ Herald] The Prime Minister’s former science advisor, Peter Gluckman, said it was time for New Zealand to restart the debate on genetic modification. The Government emphasised there were no plans to change New Zealand’s cautious approach to genetic modification, and changes would be years away. Sir Peter added the science had shown genetic...

Good step but ‘devil will be in the detail’

[20 April/Otago Daily Times] An R&D tax incentive discussion document was released yesterday by Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Megan Woods. ManufacturingNZ Executive Director, Catherine Beard, said the tax incentive proposals were a positive step towards a higher innovation economy. She added the proposal could go a long way towards increasing company level investment in...

Oxford research director calls for NZ farming sustainability

[5 March/Radio NZ] Oxford University Population Biologist, Charles Godfray, said that New Zealand agriculture needed to become more sustainable to catch up with its clean, green, unspoiled image overseas. Sir Charles added that New Zealand agriculture has a tremendous reputation as producing very high quality products, and that he thought there was a general feeling...

GM or not GM? Food watchdog reviews new products

[15 February/NZ Herald] Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) were reviewing how rules may apply to products that can be altered genetically, but without any introduced DNA. New breeding techniques (NBTs) are a set of technologies being developed and applied in plant and animal breeding. There was doubt whether the outputs of these technologies...

New Zealand needs to pull ahead of world on agri-innovation

[1 December/ NZ Herald] Ministry for Primary Industries Director General, Martyn Dunne said New Zealand needed to be in a better position to respond to challenges like increased competition, environmental and climatic impacts, and disruptive technologies in the agri-food sector. Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said the sector had to compete with others around the world...

Government to review primary sector research programmes

[4 December/ Stuff] The Government has announced that it would keep the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programmes running until it reviewed them. Under the previous National Government, the 22 PGPs were its flagship research and development programme for the primary sector. Of the 22 programmes, six have been completed and 16 were currently still underway....

NZBIO Annual Biotechnology/Life Sciences Conference

 [7 September/ Media Release] The NZBIO Annual Biotechnology/Life Sciences Conference is being held on October 12 and 13 at Te Wharewaka o Poneke, Wellington. The theme this year, Global Megatrends, will consider some of the largest biotech opportunities globally today.  Some international thought leaders, Robin Farmanfarmaian, Sir Peter Gluckman, Professor Juliet Gerrard, Dr Clyde Smith...

Work begins on $206 million Lincoln University research facility

[22 August/The Press] At event was held Tuesday to mark the start of the construction of a new $206 million research facility at Lincoln University, which will be the physical home of the Lincoln Hub, a collaborative project between the University and several Crown Research Institutes. Lincoln University and AgResearch are partnering in the centre...

Government offers $7 million for primary sector research

[7 August/ Stuff] The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), scheme that has contributed more than $7.5 million to primary sector research projects in Taranaki, has $7 million available for applied research projects led by the primary sector that helps boost rural communities, the economy and environmental sustainability. MPI’s Director of Investment Programmes...

Weeds cost farmers billions of dollars a year – study

[20 July/ Radio NZ] AgResearch and Scion scientists have joined forces with Lincoln University Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit Economists to review published research on the cost of weeds to the pastoral, arable and forestry sectors. AgResearch Principal Scientist Graeme Bourdôt said they cost at least $1.6 billion annually, but it was likely to be...

Mesh cheaper than chemicals in stopping potato disease

[21 July/ Stuff] Scientist Dr Charles Merfield believes using mesh to ward off the potato psyllid is more successful and less expensive than using chemicals. Trials using mesh to cover the crops have shown a large reduction in insect numbers. The insect delivers a destructive bacterium to the plant and tubers, causing major production losses....

Genetic centre to boost agriculture

[24 July/ Radio NZ] The new Massey University AL Rae Centre for Genetics and Breeding is based at AgResearch’s Ruakura Research Centre in Hamilton and hopes to overcome a lack of research in quantitative genetics in New Zealand. The centre is funded by the Norman FB Barry Foundation. Chief Scientist for the Centre Dorian Garrick,...

New $8.4m horticultural research institute for Tauranga

[14 July/ NZ Herald] Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced a new $8.4 million research institute for Tauranga to leverage the Bay of Plenty’s strengths in horticulture and accelerate and commercialise research and innovation. The institute will be named Plantech: The New Zealand Institute for Technology and Innovation in Premium Plant-based Value Chains, and...

Sustainability key to role as new AgResearch leader

[15 July/ Otago Daily Times] Southland Farmer Jeff Grant has taken over as AgResearch Chairman. Mr Grant said focus would be continuing to build on AgResearch’s ability to deliver highly relevant science to the future of farming to target farm and environmental sustainability issues. Mr Grant said regional council changes to improve land and water...

Innovation changes our world…in more ways than we realise

[6 June/ New Zealand Innovation Council Press Release] Innovative kiwis that are changing the world with products, services, processes or businesses are invited to enter the New Zealand Innovation Awards 2017, entries for which opened on 6 June.  The awards were created to give smart, innovative NZ individuals and businesses a platform to be recognised...

Seeds sent to Arctic doomsday vault

[4 June/ NZ Herald] AgResearch has deposited an assortment of seeds in a remote Arctic doomsday vault, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, to guard against the loss of plant species through war, disease or disaster striking New Zealand. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure facility on the Arctic Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway...

Plant & Food Research-Anagenix tie up on the verge of reaping benefits

 [24 May/ NZ Herald] Plant & Food Research has entered a new commercial partnership with Anagenix, a company that creates products that designs products that utilise bioactives found in New Zealand-grown fruits and plants. The partnership, Innovation Cell, combines science and marketing expertise to launch new products and ingredients that promote health and wellbeing. Plant...

Could superbug ‘Kryptonite’ be in NZ forests?

[8 May/ New Zealand Herald] An estimated 700,000 people globally die from drug-resistant infections annually, and this is predicted to increase to 10 million people per year by 2050. Although traditional antibiotics effectively defend against infectious diseases, common bacteria regularly develop strains capable of resisting these antibiotics. The Fight Against Superbugs campaign, backed by Cure-Kids,...

The science of food: Reaping the benefits of the FoodBowl

 [9 April/ NZ Herald] The FoodBowl, part of the Food ­Innovation Network, was opened with an aim to increase the food sector’s value by encouraging companies with export potential to develop products. Callaghan Innovation provides 70 percent of the annual running costs and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development provide the balance. Through the FoodBowl,...