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/ 

Sheep from low-methane-yield selection lines created on alfalfa pellets also have lower methane yield under pastoral farming conditions

Jonker, A., S. Hickey, C. Pinares-Patiño, J. McEwan, S. Olinga, A. Díaz, G. Molano, S. MacLean, E. Sandoval, R. Harland, D. Birch, B. Bryson, K. Knowler, and S. Rowe. 2017. Sheep from low-methane-yield selection lines created on alfalfa pellets also have lower methane yield under pastoral farming conditions. J. Anim. Sci. 0. doi:10.2527/jas.2017.1709

 

Selection lines of sheep with low and high CH4 yield (g/kg DMI; CH4/DMI) are being developed on the basis of feeding pelleted alfalfa hay at 2.0 times maintenance ME requirements in respiration chambers, but their divergence under predominant grazing conditions, as in New Zealand, is not known. The objectives of this study were to determine CH4 emissions and rumen fermentation characteristics in sheep from low and high CH4/DMI selection lines while grazing pasture. Two grazing experiments were conducted with 42 selection line ewes in March 2013 (Exp. 1) and 98 selection line progeny ewe hoggets in October/November 2014 (Exp. 2), with CH4 emissions estimated by the SF6 tracer technique and DMI estimated by titanium oxide in combination with natural long-chain n-alkanes. Total daily CH4 production (g/d) was similar between high and low CH4/DMI selection line sheep in Exp. 1 and lower for low CH4/DMI progeny compared with high CH4/DMI progeny in Exp. 2 (P < 0.05). The CH4/DMI tended to be 20% lower for low CH4/DMI line sheep compared with high CH4/DMI selection line sheep in Exp. 1 (P < 0.10) and was 15% lower for the low CH4/DMI line in Exp. 2 (P < 0.01). Total VFA concentration and concentrations (mM) of acetate, butyrate, and isobutyrate plus isovalerate were lower (P < 0.05) for low CH4/DMI line sheep compared with high CH4/DMI selection line sheep in both experiments. The current study indicates that differences in CH4/DMI and VFA concentrations in selection line sheep, previously established on alfalfa pellets, are also present to a similar magnitude when grazing pasture.

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  • This study was funded by the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (www.pggrc.co.nz) and New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (www.nzagrc.org.nz). Stephen Olinga and Alexey Díaz were financially supported by the LEARN Awards Programme (www.livestockemissions.net).

 


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