AgResearch scientists are at the forefront of improving pastoral agriculture practices and outcomes to position New Zealand as a global leader in the development of environmentally sustainable, safe and ethical pastoral production systems.

Our Science

Increasing resilience of pastures

We work to increase the resilience of pasture-based agriculture by improving the performance of forages within pastures. This is being achieved through the applications of genetics, investigation of management approaches and the discovery of microbes for biocontrol of pasture pests.

Better forages

Our scientists work at the cutting edge of enhanced ryegrass, clover and forage research and their aim is to unlock energy and nutritional gains for animals so they become healthier and better producers and to discover important traits to unlock environmental benefits.

This includes lowering the amount of methane gas produced as a byproduct of ruminant digestion as well as changing nitrogen requirements for grass forage in order to reduce nitrate runoff.

High-quality, science-driven research

Epichloë endophyte under the microscope

An example of our quality science is our long-term research into Epichloë endophytes that occur naturally in some grasses, such as those used to feed livestock on New Zealand farms.

While some types of endophyte can be harmful to livestock, selected endophytes introduced to varieties of grass offer benefits such as deterring insect pests from feeding on the grasses, while minimising any negative health effects.

For more than 35 years we've focused on selecting endophyte strains that can improve the productivity of pastures while also improving livestock health.

We have identified and commercialised strains of such benefit that they are now critical components of pastures in New Zealand.

The benefits are undoubtedly in the billions of dollars over time from increased farm productivity, reduced costs for animal health and reduced pasture losses to pests and costs to control those pests. New endophyte strains alone contribute about $200 million every year to the New Zealand economy.

  • Additional capabilities

    • Modeling
    • Systems science
    • Statistics
    • Agro-ecology
    • Environmental science
    • Plant–invertebrate interactions
    • Microbial solutions
    • Plant and endophyte technologies
    • Plant genetics
    • Plant biotechnology
    • Plant-microbe interactions

Margot Forde Genebank

The Margot Forde Genebank is a key asset at AgResearch and is New Zealand's national genebank of grassland plants and also hosts the New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank.

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Related Work

Our Research

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Send an email to one of our team or check out our facilities located across Aotearoa New Zealand.

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