Agricultural greenhouse gases & the New Zealand dairy sector

Quick facts

  • Forty-eight 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*

 Lower

* 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

pdf NZAGRC_PGgRC_What are we doing_ed2.pdf (17.12MB)

or you can read about our research programme

More information

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