[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 to drought, and produced up to 23 percent less methane. Development and trials were being conducted in the mid-west. AgResearch Principal Scientist, Greg Bryan, said after some initial tests, a five month long growing trial began last month. The full trial was underway and they would be taking key measures across the trial. Mr Bryah added animal feeding trials were planned to happen in two years. DairyNZ was helping to fund the research. DairyNZ Investment Leader, Bruce Thorrold, said the ryegrass was a science breakthrough that held great potential.