2 min read

The mission The challenge Research overview What this research means for you Talking Dairy podcasts Meet the scientist Additional resources

DairyNZ's Less-Methane team is exploring solutions to reduce methane emissions on New Zealand farms. While there are some technologies successful at reducing methane abroad, the challenge lies in adapting these, or developing new solutions that are effective in New Zealand's pasture-based systems. DairyNZ is supporting research into developing a range of solutions to reduce methane that are adoptable and viable in our pastoral farms. The team is focused on accurate national methane accounting to reward farmers' mitigation efforts.

The mission

New Zealand’s pasture-based farms produce low emissions by global standards. We want to retain and build on this advantage by developing viable and scalable solutions that work on NZ farms.

DairyNZ is working together with other research organisations and commercial companies to develop adoptable options that reduce methane and total GHG emissions on NZ dairy farms.

We aim to have methane mitigation options for New Zealand farms ready to be tested at scale by 2025. We want to have proven and adoptable solutions ready for farmers to use by 2030.

Project status: progressing

The challenge

Methane reducing compounds are being used successfully overseas as they are continuously delivered to cows in feedlot or housed farming systems through total mixed rations (TMR). A challenge in NZ is finding how to best incorporate compounds into our pasture-based dairy farms. We are also studying the impact on animal health and performance, milk composition and quality, and farm economics.

It takes time to complete robust research into new solutions on New Zealand dairy farms, and many options also need regulatory approval.

Learn more about how methane and on-farm emissions are produced.

Research overview

There are a lot of moving parts. Take a look at the breakdown below to see what's involved:

Feed additives

  • Evaluating delivery mechanisms to feed methane reducing compounds (feed additives) to cows while grazing. These include slow-release boluses, supplementary feed during milking, or automated, transportable in paddock feeding stations.
  • Determining the short and long-terms effects of feeding methane reducing compounds to calves on methane production.
  • Working to understand how cow breed, genetic merit and diet may affect the response to methane reducing compounds.

Cow diet

  • Assessing methane emissions when cows graze different forages (like plantain or spring/summer ryegrass) and receive common supplementary feeds.
  • This will increase the accuracy of on-farm emissions from pasture-based systems and potentially provide farmers with mitigation options to reduce emissions on farm (e.g., pasture species and or management).


  • Supporting research into breeding low methane cows.
  • DairyNZ has previously funded research into a methanogen vaccine. We are pleased the Government has announced it will provide funding to continue progressing this worthwhile research independent of DairyNZ. This reduces demands on dairy farmers to fund this work.

Farm system

  • Supporting regional research into how farm-system changes (e.g., stocking rate, supplementary feed, nitrogen fertiliser use, pasture species and cow genetics) can reduce methane emissions.


  • Ensuring the NZ Greenhous Gas inventory is up to date and accurate so that farmers are rewarded for actions which reduce emissions.
  • Undertaking work to allow for more accurate accounting of methane emissions at a national level.

What this research means for you

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to methane mitigation on-farm, which is why our research team are working with farmers to help create a suite of methane mitigating 'packages' to suit a range of farm systems.

Farmers will have the freedom to choose what method they would like to adopt to reduce methane emissions on their farm.

This will allow farmers to choose the solutions which best fit their farm systems and farming goals.

Talking Dairy podcasts

Methane is a big topic and it’s a pressing concern for our sector. We need to reduce our emissions, while improving profitability – but how?

In this episode, recorded at DairyNZ’s Lye Farm, you’ll hear about the options being tested by our scientists. DairyNZ principal scientist Dr Jane Kay and technical team leader Olivia Jordan take us on a walk around Lye Farm’s world-class research facilities, explain when you might start seeing solutions, and discuss other methane research being done across the sector.

Listen on:

You can also hear more from Dr Jane Kay, in this earlier episode of Talking Dairy where she explains what tools offer the most promise to reduce emissions on New Zealand dairy farms.

Listen on:

Meet the scientist

Dr Jane Kay, Principal Scientist

Jane is interested in a wide range of research, including ruminant physiology, nutrition and metabolism; transition cow management; once-daily milking; and milk fat composition and manipulation. Jane leads DairyNZ’s Less Methane programme. She enjoys working with farmers and other stakeholders to provide solutions that help the dairy sector farm into the future.

Research team
Last updated: Jan 2024
Tags related to “Less-Methane”

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