Get off the grass ­- if it’s GM

Oh dear, our scientists have come up with a practical solution that could boost farm output while reducing the environmental impact.
Great, just what we need.
That’s something that can keep everyone happy. It’s what might be called a win-win situation.
Isn’t it?
No.
Just hang on a minute. There’s a problem.
The solution, a new form of ryegrass called High Metabolisable Energy, involved genetic modification or engineering.
That means a kiwi scientific development that could transform agriculture and give our farmers an edge to compensate for the tyranny of distance from markets might not be approved for use here.
Just the name should have farmers pricking their ears and rubbing their hands in anticipation of getting those hands on the new grass.
But wait, as they say, there’s more.
It could boost earnings by up to $5 billion a year. It’s likely to have cost about $50 million by time it’s commercialised. That sounds like a more than acceptable return.
That’s based on modelling done so far, which has been on its use by dairy farmers.
The stuff can also be eaten by other animals.

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