Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases

New Zealand is a member of the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the Global Research Alliance?

The Mission of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) is to bring countries together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. It was launched in December 2009.

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How is New Zealand involved in the GRA?

New Zealand is a founding member, the current GRA Secretariat, is one of the Co-Chairs of the Livestock Research Group, and was GRA Council Chair (2011-2012).

The New Zealand Government committed $45 million to the work of the GRA in 2010 and in 2016 announced a further 20 million out to June 2020 to fund research in the area of greenhouse gas emissions mitigation in pasture based temporal livestock systems.

New Zealand is represented in the GRA by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), working closely with the environment and climate change groups from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). MPI contracts the NZAGRC to manage New Zealand’s involvement in the Livestock Research Group and New Zealand’s GRA science research activities.

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What is the GRA Livestock Research Group?

The Livestock Research Group (LRG) is focused on reducing the emissions intensity of livestock production systems and increasing the quantity of carbon stored in soils supporting those systems.

The LRG is co-chaired by NZAGRC Director Dr Harry Clark and Dr Sinead Waters from Teagasc Ireland.

The LRG Vision is to:

  1. Increase agriculture production with lower emissions
  2. Improve global cooperation in research & technology
  3. Work with farmers and partners to provide knowledge

Read below for details on the workings of the LRG and GRA.

For more information on the group check out the December 2018 LRG newsletter at: https://globalresearchalliance.org/n/livestock-research-group-newsletter-december-2018/ 

New Zealand contribution to international research efforts

New Zealand maintains an active role in the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases (GRA). NZAGRC provides leadership in livestock emissions research and training in emissions measurement throughout the world.

Training & development opportunities
During September the GRA provided a two week training course to 15 African region technicians to learn about enteric methane and nitrous oxide measurement systems. The NZAGRC worked with the University of Pretoria to organise the course, in South Africa, which provided a full training course for nitrous oxide chamber measurement methods, building and using SF¬6 tracer technique yokes, using respiration chambers for methane measurement and understanding and analysing the data collected from these methods.

An additional information day for these technicians was held in collaboration with AnimalCHANGE covering an overview of measurement systems and the current international research environment, information on national inventory contributions.
The course was the second run by the NZAGRC through the New Zealand Government's capability development fund; the first was in New Zealand in 2013 for South East Asia and South American technicians.

For individuals looking for new opportunities to train, PhD, Postdoctoral and Technician's Awards are always open to international applications to develop skills working in a New Zealand organisation - the first step is for the candidate to complete an expression of interest form from www.livestockemissions.net

For Senior Scientists, a GRASS Award provides funding for a short term (up to six months) research collaboration with other GRA member countries. For more information, visit www.livestockemissions.net

New Zealand led research successes
The New Zealand funded ‘Identification of low methane emitting phenotypes' project, a targeted postdoctoral research project funded in 2011/2012 was completed earlier in the year. The project has shown that genomic selection for methane yield is viable, although not yet tested in industry, and developed documentation to enable research and industry groups around the world to record this trait in standard industry compatible databases. For information on this project see www.asggn.org.nz

The Global Rumen Census will be completed in the next few weeks by AgResearch in support of the Livestock Research Group of the GRA. The project collected and analysed rumen samples from more than 50 livestock systems around the world. The project outputs will provide a very interesting overview of the microbial communities present in the rumen of animals in a variety of species and regions, and provide information on the regional or global applicability of specific mitigation options being developed, such as a vaccine against methane-generating microbes. The background to this project can be found at www.globalrumencensus.org.nz

Other projects still on the road include:

  • Development of optimal adjuvants for a methane vaccine
  • Search for methanogen inhibitors & rapid discovery techniques
  • Global catalogue of genome sequences of methane-generating microbes
  • Investigations into a variety of new methane emission reduction options(Nanobeads, interspecies hydrogen transfer, natural lovastatins)
  • Investigations into options for nitrous oxide emission reduction (accelerating
  • reduction, provision of decision making tools)
  • Options for use and validation of methane measurement systems in New Zealand.

Other international research collaborations (with New Zealand funding provision) include contributing to research in:

  • Australia
  • Europe
  • USA
  • South East Asia


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