Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Mixed pastures drought-proofing NZ famrs

Media Release  

5 August 2013             

For immediate release

Mixed pastures (not GE ryegrass) are the already successful method for drought-proofing NZ farms - and cutting nitrogen leaching in half

The Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group is advising scientists and agribusiness investors not to waste any more time and effort – let alone millions of dollars – on trying to genetically engineer ryegrass to withstand drought caused by climate change.

“I hope no farmers – or politicians – are taken in by the exaggerated and emotive pleading of genetic engineering proponents to support work on these expensive and ineffective approaches to the very real environmental challenges faced by farming today”, says ODPG Chair Glenn Mead.

“The facts are that we already have all the science we need on how to drought-proof pastures – and at the same time reduce nitrogen leaching – and it doesn't cost more than a few bags of seed and the time to sow them.”

Two recently-released dairy pasture research studies,* conducted independently of each other, have shown scientifically that mixed species pastures are much more resilient and productive in dry conditions than ryegrass and clover alone. They also leach 50-60% less nitrogen.

The organic dairy farms that were studied by Massey University scientists during the four year Grow Organic Dairy project were already aware of the value of having mixed species pastures in terms of drought-proofing and animal health. However, they were not aware of the role of mixed pastures in reducing nitrogen leaching until their farms were measured using the Overseer programme.

This effect has been independently verified by the three year Dairy NZ study that looked at the impact of adding three more species (chicory, plantain and lucerne) to the standard ryegrass and clover mix and found that cows fed on mixed pasture excreted half the amount of nitrogen in their urine compared to cows on standard pasture.

“ This has big implications in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture”, says Mr Mead. “About 50% of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. We now have three good reasons for converting all pastures to mixed pastures as soon as possible. It will save us a lot of money and prevent a lot of distress – starting right now. GE rye grass can't do it now – and it will never do it.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Ongoing Problems With Abortion

Despite Christopher Luxon’s assurances to the contrary, there is no such thing as “settled law” in New Zealand. Apart from the six provisions that are constitutionally entrenched, legislation can always be amended or overturned by a simple majority vote within our single chamber of Parliament. Luxon’s repeated use of the term “settled law” has been particularly tone deaf, given that several of the US Supreme Court justices used that very same term during their confirmation hearings...


Government: Joint Press Release With President Of The Govt Of Spain Pedro Sánchez & PM Of New Zealand
On June 28, 2022, a meeting took place in Madrid between the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who was visiting Spain... More>>

Winston Peters: Issues Judicial Review Proceedings

Winston Peters has issued judicial review proceedings against Speaker of the House the Rt Honourable Trevor Mallard, challenging Mr Mallard’s issue of a trespass warning against Mr Peters on 28 April 2022, which the Speaker then withdrew on 4 May 2022... More>>

Government: Electoral Changes Will Bring Greater Transparency For Voters

Changes to electoral law announced by Justice Minister Kiri Allan today aim to support participation in parliamentary elections, and improve public trust and confidence in New Zealand’s electoral system... More>>

Government: Wellington’s Rapid Transit Option Progresses To Next Stage
The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay... More>>

NZ Republic: Charles CHOGM Speech Green Light For Change
“Prince Charles had made it clear in his speech to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda today that even the Royal family think it’s time for change” said Lewis Holden, campaign chair of New Zealand Republic... More>>

National: Goodfellow To Retire As Party President
Peter Goodfellow today announced he will not seek re-election as President of the National Party at its Annual Conference. Mr Goodfellow will remain as a director on the board for one final term to assist in the transition... More>>




InfoPages News Channels