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New Zealand mulls grass pest biocontrol

The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority has received an application from New Zealand seed company DLF Seeds (Christchurch) to import and release the endophyte fungus, Neotyphodium siegelii, to protect ryegrass and fescue from pests and drought. Most ryegrass and fescue pastures in New Zealand contain endophytes, but some are toxic to livestock, DLF points out. However, N siegelii produces only the non-toxic alkaloid, loline. The introduction of the endophyte would improve forage production and drought tolerance and reduce pesticide use, DLF notes. The application is open to public submissions until April 22nd.

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