$7.3m for agricultural research partnership

The Government will invest $7.3 million over five years in an agricultural research partnership to improve pasture grasses and lift the performance of livestock farming, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

Pastoral Genomics is an industry-led research partnership between DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Grasslands Innovation, NZ Agriseeds, DEEResearch, AgResearch, and Dairy Australia whose objective is to provide pastoral farmers with better forage cultivars that will increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems.

Government funding is provided through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s research partnerships programme and will be matched by industry funding.

“This industry-led research is strategically important to New Zealand because it aims to increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of pastoral farming, which is a large part of our agricultural sector,” says Mr Joyce.

“New Zealand has a strong primary sector. Just over half of our total exports of goods and services by value are primary products. We need to build on this strength with constant innovation, and by taking full advantage of our strength in agricultural technologies.

“The investment in this partnership is expected to boost sustainability of New Zealand’s pastoral farms and increase the value of exports by the sector, contributing to the Business Growth Agenda goal of increasing the ratio of exports to GDP for the benefit of all New Zealanders.”

The funding is a strong investment into one of New Zealand’s most important industries, Mr Guy says.

“New Zealand farmers are the best in the world, but we need to keep innovating and investing in scientific research to maintain this. This kind of work will help us achieve our goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025.”

The partnership intends to use non-regulated biotechnologies, including genomic selection that does not involve genetic modification, to help progress breeding and commercialisation of high-performing forages for grazing livestock. The forage cultivars are expected to have improved nutritional content and be more resilient to drought and disease.

For more information on the Research Partnerships programme: http://www.msi.govt.nz/get-funded/research-organisations/research-partnerships

RNZ