Tackling climate change and mitigating the impact of droughts are among the benefits sought by a PGP programme developing innovative forages for New Zealand farms.
This PGP programme is led by PGG Wrightson Seeds and Grasslanz Technology. It consists of 4 projects designed to develop a suite of innovations that improve productivity and animal health, while mitigating adverse environmental impacts.
Future farming systems require forages that can meet the nutritional requirements of high-performing animals. They also require technologies that can mitigate the environmental impacts often associated with highly productive farming systems.
This programme is developing technologies to improve pasture performance, reduce the impact of pests and diseases, overcome animal health disorders and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and losses from drought stress.
Farmers can expect technologies that provide improved productivity and profitability across all New Zealand regions and farming systems where pasture renewal occurs.
The replacement nucleus seed crop has been sown for our perennial ryegrass with AR-X endophyte that has improved bioactivity. This elite selection has outperformed more than 100 other entries across 8 locations in New Zealand. The first selection has been entered in National Forage Variety Trials. Pest resistance trials show better grass grub tolerance, and Argentine stem weevil and root aphid resistance of perennial ryegrass plants containing AR501. The animal safety trials have shown strong animal performance without any adverse animal health problems.
PGP-endophytes reduced facial eczema spore counts by more than 30% under field conditions in small plots. Larger field plots were established this quarter and will be monitored in 2017 for their ability to reduce facial eczema. Seed multiplication for larger scale trials is also on track for harvest in early 2017. Results from our first animal toxicology study have been favourable.
We have demonstrated improved water-use efficiency (+38%), aphid tolerance (+32%), clubroot resistance (100%), lower glucosinolate levels (-80%), excellent seed yield potential and improved agronomic performance (+14% dry matter yield) of our new hybrid brassica compared to Goliath rape across a range of regional sites. Our cattle grazing trial resulted in around 30% higher liveweight gain per hectare without any increase in brassica-associated liver disease. Initial on-farm studies have also shown strong improvements in lamb finishing systems with more than $2000/ha profitability gains compared to forage rape and grass pasture. We have successfully harvested a nucleus seed crop and sown 2 more multiplication crops for harvest in 2017.
HT-C Kale is tolerant to Telar herbicide under worst case scenarios and is now being increased for evaluation and on-farm trials.
Programme start: February 2013 Length: 6 years PGP funding: $7.15 million Industry funding: $7.48 million Crown funding paid out to programme for work done to 31 August 2017: $5,129,527 Commercial partners: PGG Wrightson Seeds Ltd, Grasslanz Technology Ltd Estimated potential economic benefits to NZ: $200 million per year by 2025.
Progress review reports
Seed and Nutritional Technology Development Progress review report - May 2015