Low-nitrogen pasture plants
A major new research programme is among the first to be funded by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.
Led by Dr Susanne Rasmussen, it focuses on the feasibility of growing high-yielding pasture species with a lower nitrogen content.
If results prove that growing the species will be viable, this would open up the possibility of farmers being able to maintain pasture productivity while reducing the amount of nitrogen excreted.
The outcome would be multiple environmental benefits, for example a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Low-nitrogen plants would also address the problem of nitrogen leaching into waterways, helping to improve water quality.