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.
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.
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:
- Increase agriculture production with lower emissions
- Improve global cooperation in research & technology
- 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/
A modified version of the Molly rumen model to quantify methane emissions from sheep
Vetharaniam, I., R. E. Vibart, et al. (2015). "A modified version of the Molly rumen model to quantify methane emissions from sheep1." Journal of Animal Science 93(7): 3551-3563.
We modified the rumen submodel of the Molly dairy cow model to simulate the rumen of a sheep and predict its methane emissions. We introduced a rumen hydrogen (H2) pool as a dynamic variable, which (together with the microbial pool in Molly) was used to predict methane production, to facilitate future consideration of thermodynamic control of methanogenesis. The new model corrected a misspecification of the equation of microbial H2 utilization in Molly95, which could potentially give rise to unrealistic predictions under conditions of low intake rates. The new model included a function to correct biases in the estimation of net H2 production based on the default stoichiometric relationships in Molly95, with this function specified in terms of level of intake. Model parameters for H2 and methane production were fitted to experimental data that included fresh temperate forages offered to sheep at a wide range of intake levels and then tested against independent data. The new model provided reasonable estimates relative to the calibration data set, but a different parameterization was needed to improve its predicted ability relative to the validation data set. Our results indicate that, although feedback inhibition on H2 production and methanogen activity increased with feeding level, other feedback effects that vary with diet composition need to be considered in future work on modeling rumen digestion in Molly.
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