What we do

The NZAGRC’s goal is to discover, develop and make available practical and cost-effective technologies and practices for New Zealand farmers and growers to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

A research partnership

The NZAGRC is a core component of the New Zealand Government’s approach to understanding and managing greenhouse gases from agriculture.

We are a partnership between New Zealand’s leading research providers working to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases, and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc).

We are physically located on the AgResearch Grasslands Campus in Palmerston North. However, we operate as a ‘virtual’ centre in that the research that we support is carried out by scientists working in their own organisations.

NZAGRC building at AgResearch Grasslands in Palmerston North

NZAGRC building at AgResearch Grasslands in Palmerston North

The NZAGRC was created in 2009 to build on existing research, partnering with others to bring cost-effective, simple solutions to New Zealand farms and contribute world-leading results to the international science community.

View our domestic activities for detailed information about the research and other activities that we invest in to support efforts by the New Zealand agriculture sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. View our international activities for information about the work we do on behalf of the New Zealand Government for the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) and other international partnerships.

Strategic goal and objectives

Our goal is to discover, develop and make available to New Zealand farmers and growers products, tools and knowledge that enable the practical and cost-effective reduction of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

This goal is underpinned by eight strategic objectives:

  1. Develop practices and technologies, and the knowledge and understanding to support future developments, that will contribute to New Zealand’s 2030 and 2050 reduction targets for agricultural greenhouse gases
  2. Quantify and increase the understanding of how management practices, climate and their interactions, influence soil carbon sequestration in New Zealand’s agricultural soils
  3. Contribute to Iwi/Māori aspirations to play a leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy
  4. Be a trusted knowledge source and broker, facilitating the ongoing alignment of industry and Government funding, and securing additional resources both nationally and internationally
  5. Enhance New Zealand’s international reputation as a leader in agricultural greenhouse gas research by:
    1. funding an innovative research programme of international quality and standing; and
    2. leading New Zealand’s science input to the GRA
  6. Ensure that national greenhouse gas research, development and extension activities are well-coordinated, developed with sector/stakeholder input and that progress in developing solutions is effectively communicated to the primary sector, Government and public
  7. Enhance national capability and capacity, both human and infrastructure, to undertake agricultural greenhouse gas research, development and extension
  8. Strengthen existing/build new collaborations with national and international organisations to increase the effectiveness of the NZAGRC’s science programmes, Government investments in agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation, including the GRA programme, and Government-industry initiatives such as the PGgRc and He Waka Eke Noa.

Scope of our work

The NZAGRC’s strategic goal and objectives focus specifically on:

  • Reducing emissions of biogenic methane and nitrous oxide from land-based industries, including through land use change and redesigned farm systems
  • Carbon sequestration in agricultural, horticultural and cropping soils
  • Advancing research and development to the point where mitigation solutions can be directly applied by industry or transferred to a third party for delivery/commercialisation.

We partner with other initiatives and organisations (for example, the Our Land and Water and Deep South National Science Challenges, MPI, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, PGgRc and commercial companies) to undertake work on (or advance) the following topics:

  • Land use change
  • Technology transfer, extension and outreach
  • The interaction between, and co-benefits of, mitigation and adaptation—developing resilient land-based industries, including with water, forestry and other natural resource management policies
  • Commercialisation

Direct research into forestry (for example, the impacts of a changing climate on carbon storage in forests) and agricultural adaptation (for example, farm-system change to adapt to new pests and diseases and temperature change) are not in our scope. However, as adaptation strategies cannot be separated entirely from mitigation strategies, our work will look at the interaction of increased temperatures, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and modified management processes on future soil carbon stocks.

Partnering with Iwi/Māori

The NZAGRC honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi and upholds the principle of partnership in working with Iwi/Māori.

Māori-owned businesses are unique because they are driven not only by financial outcomes but by the principles of kaitiakitanga (responsibility), manaakitanga (supporting people) and taonga tuku iho mō ngā uri whakatipu (guardianship of resources for future generations). Iwi/Māori have a strong desire to help lead the primary sector’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The NZAGRC has committed resources to working with Iwi/Māori to help achieve their low-carbon ambitions. Building enduring partnerships with key organisations and groups in the Māori sector and becoming a trusted science advisor to these entities is a high priority. For more, see our Toihau and Māori research programme pages.