20 Apr 2011

Further seed trials urged

1:09 pm on 20 April 2011

A seed company that supplies high sugar grasses is calling for New Zealand to follow up British trials that show they can reduce methane emissions from livestock.

Trials run by Reading University and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences have found that high sugar ryegrass can reduce methane emissions from sheep by 20% for every kilogram of weight gain.

Germinal Seeds says the grasses used in these trials are the same varieties it's been selling here for a number of years.

Germinal's New Zealand manager David Kerr says previous studies have shown that that high sugar grasses increase animal productivity, in terms of increased milk yield and weight gain and also reduce the excretion of nitrogen from livestock.

He says the latest UK results challenges the view that there's nothing available in the tool-box rght now to help New Zealand farmers reduce methane from livestock.

Germinal says farmers in New Zealand sow an estimated 18,000 - 20,000 hectares per year.