The NZAGRC’s methane research programme targets a reduction in emissions from two main sources in New Zealand agriculture: enteric methane produced by the digestive systems of ruminant animals, and methane emitted from manure management. The programme builds on nearly a decade of jointly funded work by the NZAGRC and the PGgRC.
Our research has identified low-methane-emitting sheep and supported the development of a methane breeding value that has since been incorporated into breeding indices. A similar breeding programme for dairy cattle is now underway.
Our research has shown that some supplementary feeds ferment differently in the rumen and produce less methane per unit of feed consumed.
We are investigating the effects on ruminant methane emissions of including different proportions of plantain, forage rape and other alternative forages in the diet.
A methane inhibitor is a chemical compound fed to an animal to reduce the production of methane in the rumen.
Our research is looking at different ways to deliver small molecule methane inhibitors safely and effectively to New Zealand’s predominantly grazing livestock.
A successful methane vaccine would trigger an animal's immune system to generate antibodies in saliva that suppress the growth of methane-producing microbes (methanogens) in the rumen.
Manure management is a minor source of methane emissions in New Zealand, but technologies used in other countries might benefit farmers here.
Reducing manure from stored wastes
We are assessing available technologies for reducing methane emissions from stored animal waste to see how they might work in New Zealand.