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Agricultural greenhouse gases & the New Zealand dairy sector
- Forty-nine percent of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture.
- At the same time, more than 38% of New Zealand's merchandisable exports come from agriculture.
- Dairy is New Zealand's biggest export earner.
- New Zealand is the number one contributor to the global dairy trade.
What practices have changed since 1990?
- Consistent supply of high quality feed
- Increased use of supplements (mazie sileage, PKE, brassicas)
- Improved pasture, irrigation and fertilizer management
- Improved genetic merit of animals through breeding and herd testing
What effect have these changes had on productivity?
- Increased milk yield per cow (kg MS/cow)
- Increased milk yield per hectare (kg MS/ha)
- Milk yield is closer to the animal's genetic potential
What's the effect on greenhouse gas emissions intensity?
These practice changes result in lower emissions intensity per unit of product and a greater proportion of feed goes to milk production rather than maintenance.
What's the latest from industry?
DairyNZ Read more
Fonterra Read more
Summary tables of practice change and effects
|On farm change since 1990||Effect on farm productivity||Effect on emissions intensity (net)|
Consistent supply of high quality feed
Increased use of supplements (mazie sileage, PKE, brassicas)
Improved pasture, irrigation and fertilizer management
Improved genetic merit of animals through breeding and herd testing
Increased milk yield per cow (kg MS/cow)
Increased milk yield per hectare (kg MS/ha)
* Milk yield is closer to the animal's genetic potential*
* Greater proportion of feed goes to milk production rather than maintenance *
What else is being done to lower emissions on farm?
The NZAGRC is working in partnership with the PGgRc to explore options to mitigate GHGs on New Zealand farms. An overview publication is available for download
NZAGRC_PGgRC_What are we doing_ed2.pdf (17.12MB)
or you can read about our research programme
Louis Schipper talks to Bryan Crump on RNZ Nights about soil carbon. He talks about soil organic matter, soil density, nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur), land use and the ways we can store more carbon in soil to reduce the amount of carbon...
Reisinger, A., Ledgard, S.F., Falconer, S.J. 2017. Sensitivity of the carbon footprint of New Zealand milk to greenhouse gasmetrics. Ecological Indicators 81, 74–82. Highlights The carbon footprint of milk depends on the choice...
Francesca Eggleton, Fonterra's Manager, Group Environment recently presented at the New Zealand agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation conference. Read more
More farmers are aware of the impact of livestock on global warming, says an agricultural greenhouse research expert. New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre director Dr Harry Clark said farmer awareness of their...
During 2015/16, the dairy component of the programme has continued progress towards understanding potential for practical mitigation options to result in lower GHG footprints for dairy farming. Methane and nitrous oxide measurements on dairy...
Rick provided the conference delegates with an overview of the New Zealand investment landscape for reducing agricultural greenhouse gases. He highlighted that New Zealand is putting in a great deal of effort into reducing agricultural greenhouse...
This publication provides an overview of the GHG mitigation work been undertaken in New Zealand.