Creating value through unique plant opportunities.
Work on endophytic fungi, which enhance the productivity of pasture grasses, is being adapted to cereals to see if the mutualistic relationship can improve the tolerance of cereals to pests and drought
By John Caradus and David Hume
Reproduced from GRDC’s GroundCover Supplement Invertebrate Pest Management: New Frontiers - Issue 149, Nov/Dec 2020.
Dr John Caradus FRSNZ (CEO Grasslanz) has been awarded the Thomson Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi for his leadership in the commercial delivery of plant and microbial technologies to farmers from both publicly and privately funded research, and for improving pastoral sector productivity.
John has spent his whole career focused on improving the value of grasslands for New Zealand farmers. This started with him successfully applying for a forage plant breeding position at DSIR Grasslands. He completed a PhD at the University of Reading (UK) and with the establishment of AgResearch in 1992 he became the Team Leader of the white clover breeding team.
MBIE and DairyNZ over the past 6 years have invested in a programme to “increase the performance of legume-rhizobia symbiosis”. Grasslanz Technology has now become involved with taking the technologies created through commercialisation for end-user farmer benefit. The programme led by AgResearch also involved Lincoln University, Otago University and SARDI. The goal of the programme was to increase the profitability and sustainability of pastoral agriculture by increasing biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) from the symbiosis between rhizobia bacteria and forage legumes.
Increased biological nitrogen fixation may occur through: -
- Improved rhizobial inoculants (e.g. rhizobia strains with improved rates of N2 fixation and competitiveness).
- Advances in formulation sciences (new methods for delivery of rhizobia to soils).
- Plant genetics (better hosts for rhizobia).
AgResearch USA Ltd, a 100% owned subsidiary of Grasslanz Technology Ltd in New Zealand, is a partner in the Alliance for Grassland Renewal formed in 2012 in the USA. Participants include representatives from university extension, government, industry (including producers, seed companies, testing labs) and nonprofit groups.
Gene editing techniques, such as ZFN (Zinc Finger Nuclease), TALEN (Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases) and CRISPR (Clustered Regulatory Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)/Cas9 systems provide the opportunity to change the genome of fungal endophytes such as those found in the Epichloë genus.
Luisetti Seeds have recently concluded an agreement with Grasslanz Technology to breed and develop a new lucerne cultivar specifically for the New Zealand market. Lucerne has long been a significant part...
Grasslanz Technology Limited has been named a category winner of the 2010/2011 DuPont Australia and New Zealand Innovation Award, announced at the Presentation Ceremony on 13 May 2011 in Melbourne. Judged across seven categories, the biennial awards...
Grasslanz Technology Limited has been named as category winner of the New Zealand International Business Awards 2010, announced the Awards Ceremony on 13 October in Auckland. This award recognises success in developing...
Errol Thom, Senior Scientist, DairyNZ Overall conclusions AR37 ryegrass was clearly more persistent than either AR1 or Standard (HE) ryegrass. This supports findings from previous work. The greater persistency translated into a reduced need for renovation of AR37 pastures after the 2008 drought, but in the three years...
The pipeline that delivers the new endophytes, ryegrass and clover cultivars featured in Inside Dairy requires investment in basic science, product development and field evaluation. Government, DairyNZ and agribusiness all invest in this pipeline. New Zealand dairy farmers...
Waikato dairy farmers David and Raewyn Bennett say perennial ryegrass commando with AR37 endophyte has proved by far the best technological advance they were offered during the walton farm project in 2006...
The newly launched PRCT website has had additional technical tips articles added to resource rural retailers and assist farmers. Four articles are included in the technical tips section..