AgResearch using science to work towards a more sustainable farming future

AgResearch using science to work towards a more sustainable farming future

AgResearch is an iconic institution that makes up a huge part of Aotearoa's farming and primary sector landscape.

Grant Rennie is a scientist at AgResearch and told REX hosts Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay, that they wanted to help however they could following Cyclone Gabrielle.

"We had expertise, we had knowledge, we knew what had happened in the past so we just started putting together some of our best thinkers," Rennie said.

Having experienced serious floods in Manawatu back in 2005 AgResearch was able to carry over a lot of knowledge and lessons to provide rural communities 

"Initially it was one page that went up on the Landwise website to help them understand and guide their farmers through that immediate change and now we've followed that through and we continually work in that space."

As New Zealand slowly works to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle and the widespread damage it caused, AgResearch continues to develop and explore new technologies to hopefully improve the efficiency and productivity of farming and agriculture.

Rennie said they are doing anything and everything they can to take the Government funded science and put it into practice to better support the agricultural system.

"Our methane accumulation chambers that we are using to measure the methane output of sheep particularly going out to our breeding flocks and some breeders across the country where we understand which one of those are putting out less methane and which ones are putting out more methane so that we can develop some breeding values to ensure we get the best flocks for the future."

He also talked about the potential legislative changes around gene editing and said AgResearch has a broad approach and is interested in the science of endophytes, grasses and animals.

"There is a huge amount going on both in the policy space where we can support both the farmers and growers as well as the policymakers, as well as the government, any of the industry bodies we're helping them where we can to get the best future for our science."

Rennie believes there is a conversation to be had about gene editing and the potential for alternate reproduction through science and it's one AgResearch is looking forward to having.

"We know that we as the science sector, we can help support that conversation with some good, solid facts."

"It's a pretty big conversation that we need to have as a country."

Listen to the full chat between AgResearch Scientist Grant Rennie, Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay above.

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