This year, AgResearch is excited to be partnering with Southern Dairy Hub to highlight our science at the premier event for dairy farmers, South Island Dairy Event (SIDE). 

Join us

Our theme for 2024 is Working for the future of dairy. Our scientists are researching both high- and low-technology solutions to help farmers adapt and thrive in the face of coming challenges.

We’re joined on our stand by Southern Dairy Hub, where we’ll showcase opportunities in pasture management, and the use of genetic technologies such as genetic modification (GM) and gene editing (GEd) to benefit New Zealand agriculture. 

Genetic technology research

Edit(external link)

Genetic technologies(external link) such as genetic modification and gene editing have been the subject of debate for decades, but with technological advances allowing more precision, the government has indicated changes to regulation to allow greater use in New Zealand. The work AgResearch is doing with commercial partners includes:

  • High metabolisable energy (HME) ryegrass(external link) - a modified ryegrass which could reduce environmental impacts, alongside boosting animal nutrition and farm productivity, is expected to be fed to livestock for the first time next year to further explore the benefits discovered in containment trials.
  • Gene edited endophytes(external link) - the addition of selected fungi called Epichloë endophytes to ryegrass has saved New Zealand billions of dollars over the past 30 years, and now gene editing technology could provide even greater benefits through targeted changes to these endophytes.
  • High condensed tannin white clover (external link)- high condensed tannin (HiCT) white clover has been modified to boost the level of condensed tannins present, improving the productivity of pastures while also improving livestock health.

Soil armour research

A team of AgResearch scientists, led by Invermay soil scientist Dr Ross Monaghan, is investigating whether a pasture-based alternative, supplemented with hay or baleage, will reduce nitrate leaching and paddock pugging (mud). 

Both are harmful to soil health, water catchments and an animal’s welfare. Funded by the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Fund, the research programme is taking place on dairy farms in Otago and Southland.  

While the goals of the project are multi-faceted, one of the primary aims is to determine whether dairy cattle can be grazed on winter pastures without them being churned into mud. 

Get in touch with our team

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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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