17 Mar 2014

AgResearch to work on GE forage crops

7:55 am on 17 March 2014

AgResearch is hoping it will be able to field test some new genetically engineered forage crops in the next few years - that it says will have blockbuster traits.

Forage crops are plants that are eaten by livestock.

AgResearch's science group leader for forage improvement Tony Connor says they're getting close to being able to deliver some exciting new genetically engineered technologies.

He says there are some products coming through which they would like to field test in the next two to three years, although it's not yet known whether the tests will be done in New Zealand or overseas.

Dr Connor says it won't be done without consultation with the industry, the pastoral sector and the New Zealand public.

He says the trials will look at two key traits which are lipid accumulation in plants as an energy source for animal nutrition and the condensed tannins in forage to protect aspects around protein degradation in the ruminant of animals.