Water saving grass could help farmers through dry summers

A Stuff article.

Massey University researcher Vishna Weerarathne​ has identified ‘elite’ rye grass plants that use water more efficiently, providing a potential tool for farmers battling regular dry spells.

But Weerarathne scientific breakthrough has been bittersweet after a trip to Germany left her stranded halfway across the world from her partner and work when New Zealand closed its border last year.

Instead she completed her doctorate in her home country, Sri Lanka.

She was awarded a scholarship in 2017 to study what strategies the ryegrass plant used to handle drought. She researched how the grass drew up water out of dry soil, the root depth and the amount of moisture that remained in the soil at the end of the experiment.

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