Low methane animals (partnered with PGgRc)

Aim: Identify markers of low methane emitting sheep and cattle and incorporate into breeding indices.

What does success look like?

Farmers selecting for low GHG traits.

How will we get there?

  1. Confirm low GHG is a viable trait for sheep
  2. Release breeding values for sheep
  3. Apply learnings from sheep research to cattle
  4. Release breeding values for cattle

What input is needed?

Science is needed to identify markers and methods of low methane emitting animals, and test for heritability, consistency and productivity effects including disease resistance.

Commercial input is needed to incorporate low GHG traits into New Zealand sheep, cattle and deer genetic selection systems (BLGNZ, NZAEL, DEERSelect). 

What's the timeline?



Lead research partner

AgResearch Limited

Latest progress

"BREEDING PROGRAMME EXTENDING INTO CATTLE: The low and high emitting sheep selection lines continue to diverge, with the differences now about 10%. Portable accumulation chambers (PAC) have been demonstrated to be a low cost and rapid tool to aid breeding for the low methane trait. Preliminary economic analysis shows the low methane sheep could lead to higher profits, primarily due to higher growth rates, a greater proportion of meat, and increased wool production. A cattle screening programme commenced at the end of 2015/16. The first goal of this work is to validate a rapid, low cost system for measuring both methane and feed intake for individual cows in real-time."

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