Plants & GHGs

The NZAGRC’s former nitrous oxide and soil carbon work streams were combined into one programme this year. This ensures a strong overall framework, closer communication and full GHG analyses across the programme. The programme focusses on three key areas:

1. Identifying and prioritising plant traits for low GHG emissions;

2. Mitigation practices to maintain soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide emissions at paddock scale; and

3. Defining the achievable soil carbon stabilisation capacity of New Zealand grassland soils.

Current progress and research stories

Impact of importing feed

Parallel work at a nearby farm calculated carbon balances for three years for a farm with very high feed imports (about 12 tonnes dry matter or 5.3 tonnes of carbon per hectare, per year). The majority of the imported feed was converted back to carbon dioxide by cow respiration and decomposition of dung. Some of the imported carbon was also exported in increased milk production. Carbon balance measurements over maize are continuing at the site so that the carbon balance of feed production and importation can be completed.

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