DairyNZ contributes farmer levy funding to these organisations for this work, as well as conducting our own greenhouse gas farm system research.
Find out more about the greenhouse gas research:
Overview of emission reduction research areas
Research is underway to find mitigation options to reduce on-farm emissions. A solution must work with the farm system, be cost effective and not affect milk quality.
- Forms antibodies to attack methane producing microbes called methanogens.
- Aims to reduce ruminant methane emissions by at least 30 percent.
- Can be launched on the global market.
- Currently at the laboratory testing stage.
- A chemical fed to ruminant animals to reduce methanogen activity.
- Promising overseas trials with a significant 25 percent reduction reported in methane emissions in grain fed systems (total mixed ration diet).
Selective breeding (low methane animals)
- Research confirms there is a genetic basis that can be exploited in sheep, cattle, and dairy cows.
- Lower emitting animals seem to have a smaller rumen with a distinct population of micro-organisms.
- Productivity appears to be unaffected by selection.
- Breeding for this trait could result in a potential reduction of between three and eight percent per year over a 20-year timeframe.
- This must compete with selection for other desirable traits.
Low methane feeds
- Research is underway to investigate feeds which can reduce methane emissions and increase nitrogen utilisation.
- Identifying and confirming these feeds will mean recommended feeding regimes can be developed based on current and new feeding options – for use in different farm systems.
Reduce nitrous oxide and leaching
- Research is underway to develop new technologies and support existing ones, and develop on-farm management options to help reduce nitrous oxide emissions.
- DCC (dicyandiamide) has been shown to reduce nitrous oxide and nitrate leaching. Iits use has been suspended, while future options to meet trade requirements are considered.
More detail on research programmes underway can be found in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment 2016 Report.
Soil carbon is an active area of research in New Zealand. Carbon is stored in the soil in root biomass and organic matter. Carbon content varies significantly by soil type, farming practices, and climate (e.g. drought). New Zealand soils are generally considered quite high in soil organic carbon. The carbon in soils can be lost relatively quickly through poor tilling and soil tipping practices, and then takes some time to recover. Find out more about soil carbon and mapping soil organic carbon stocks.