NZ Herald: GM grass trial aims to cut cows’ gas

Eloise Gibson of the New Zealand Herald reports on efforts to develop and grow a new type of grass – one which could be grown in paddocks, and which will help reduce the amount of methane produced by the cows which eat them.

The research is being conducted by AgResearch, although it has also drawn criticism from the anti-GM movement.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“If successful, the grass could take a slice off New Zealand’s methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which make up about half the country’s emissions under internationally agreed standards.

“A trial mixing ordinary cut grass with lipids, or fat, found animals fed the mixture gained more weight from eating the same amount of food – reducing the number of animals needed to produce the same amount of milk or meat and potentially cutting emissions from each beast.

“The goal of the trial would be to grow grass with double the lipid content of the best previously created.

“[AgResearch’s applied biotechnologies manager, Jim] Suttie said that although high-lipid grass had not been tested, it should cut emissions by growing each beast to productive size more quickly, and helping it digest food more efficiently.

“Methane and nitrous oxide are both waste products produced by grazing animals.”