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Genetic feed to reduce cow farts

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/11/2016

Fewer sheep and cow farts are among the benefits spruiked by scientists attempting to use genetic modification to create more nutritional animal feed.

Speaking at Wednesday's NZ Grassland Association conference in Timaru, AgResearch forage science group leader Tony Conner told attendees $25 million would be directed to research in this area, including work to produce ryegrass containing more energy.

"This means the animals feeding on it are healthier, and therefore they become better producers for the farm. The result will be a major boost for the agricultural economy," he said.

"What we are also finding is that a by-product of these changes to the grass will be important gains (for) ... the environment."

"This includes less methane gas produced by the animals, and the change in nitrogen requirements with these grasses could reduce nitrate runoff."

His comments come after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment recently pledged money from its Endeavour Fund for research into genetically modified forages.

Mr Conner said the Endeavour Fund together with investment into research by AgResearch and other stakeholders would total $25m over the next five years.

The grassland conference runs until Thursday.

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