Fonterra and Nestlé are teaming up with DairyNZ on a promising plantain trial to help improve waterways and reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions. Cow’s eating plantain has been shown to reduce the nitrogen concentration in their urine, alleviating some of the pressure through the soil into groundwater. Farmers have been growing the leafy herb for their cows and now NZ’s largest co-op Fonterra and the world’s largest company Nestlé are adding their financial horsepower and sharing expertise. Fonterra’s Director of On-Farm Excellence Charlotte Rutherford says ultimately it could be a real game-changer to reduce nitrogen from cows and help mitigate nitrous oxide emissions. The new collaboration is helping to accelerate the uptake of Ecotain – a developed by seed company Agricom with 50 Tararua farms using plantain. With the funding boost from Fonterra and Nestlé, it is expected these farms and more will increase the amount they grow, therefore maximising the benefits. The seven-year Tararua Plantain Project is a flagship project for the dairy sector and appears to be delivering real, tangible results as it seeks water quality improvements while ensuring the dairy sector continues to produce food for the world.