Dr Doug Edmeades is concerned with the poor quality of pasture he is seeing around New Zealand's countryside.

The Hamilton-based soil scientist has been speaking at recent Beef + Lamb NZ Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) workshops. He told The Country's Rowena Duncum the stark message he had for the young farmers he spoke to.

"What I've been putting to them is we've lost sight of how to grow white clover-based pasture ... that's the basis for all our pastural industry."

Listen below:

Duncum suggests this comment may not be embraced by the wider farming community and asks Edmeades what evidence he has to back up this statement.

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Edmeades says he has travelled extensively around New Zealand assessing pastures on-farm and he sees "heaps of unrealised potential," in soil fertility. After 20 years working with farmers Edmeades says his data shows that about 70 per cent of them have deficient soils on their farms.

"Day after day I'm seeing pastures which are very, very poor."

Despite this rather bleak message, Edmeades says the response to his talks at the RMPP have been well received by participants, and he is hopeful about New Zealand's pastural future.

"I think there's going to be more emphasis on getting the best from our clover-based pastures as we move into these environmentally sensitive days."

Also in today's interview: Dr Doug Edmeades explains what a good clover-based pasture looks like and the simple concepts he has been teaching the younger generation of farmers.