Rules may stop GM super grass developed by Kiwi scientists ever being grown in NZ

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Sunday

A super grass developed here by Kiwi scientists may never be grown in a New Zealand paddock.

"It's actually almost unprecedented that anyone has made such a breakthrough of enhancing photosynthesis in crops," Sunday is told.
Source: Sunday

AgResearch scientists have been working on genetically modifying a rye grass for the past 15 years at their Palmerston North laboratories.

Laboratory tests show the High Metabolisable Energy (HME) grass can not only grow faster in dry conditions but it also reduces the amount of nitrogen leaching into waterways and methane going into the atmosphere.

That could be a lifesaver for farmers in the drought plagued areas of New Zealand such as Hawke's Bay and Canterbury.

It could also be good news for the environment as nitrogen is one of the main pollutants of our waterways and the majority of our greenhouse gasses come from livestock methane emissions.

It's off to America next week for field trials because our strict regulations around GM make it too difficult to test in New Zealand paddocks.

Federated Farmers say the choice of using GM technology has been taken away from our farmers because of our strict regulations and the creation of GM Free zones.  

More about this on SUNDAY this week 7.30 on TVNZ1 and later on TVNZOnDemand.

By Sunday reporter Mark Crysell

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