Tuesday, 08 June 2021 10:55

Methane fix 'coming soon'

Written by  Peter Burke
Dr Harry Clark. Dr Harry Clark.

Farmers can expect good science-based viable tools to deal with their greenhouse gas emissions within the next five years.

That was one of the messages from last week's conference on agricultural greenhouse emissions, attended by more than 320 people, with additional participants from 15 countries and NZ joining in via Zoom. Most of the participants were policy or science people and just a few actual farmers.

Dr Harry Clark, the director of the NZ Agricultural Green House Gas Research Centre, says the mood of the conference was one of optimism that solutions were being developed. He says one of the most promising options is nitrate inhibitors, which is being trialled overseas now and proving very effective. But he says, in the end, dealing with greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will likely will have a combination of toold and solutions. He says there were two key messages from the conference.

"Firstly, NZ has to be active in its approach to climate change and has to take action along with the rest of the world to reduce GHG's. It isn't a choice to us because we are a major exporter and our customers are saying that we have to do that.

"The phrase used by one person was 'customers are controlling the playing field' and the customers are saying we want you to reduce your GHG emissions. So I think the message was - we have to do this," he says.

But Clark says on the other side of that message was, we are actually seeing the development of technology now that will help farmers achieve what they are being asked to achieve.

"So from politicians and industry the message is that we have to take action, and then from the science side we got some positive messages that here are some technologies that are coming on," he says.

Clark says one of the highlights from an NZ perspective was a talk from a senior Irish agricultural official, Dr Dale Crammond, who pointed out that his country is in exactly the same situation as us.

He says Crammond noted that what they are doing mirrored the sorts of things we are doing, but points out that they have got bigger problems than us because they have got stricter targets dictated by the EU.

"The nice message was - you (NZ) are not alone," he says.

More like this

Death and taxes the only answer!

OPINION: In the past several months, three separate articles have appeared purporting to explain the current situation in New Zealand cattle and sheep industries, regarding methane emission research.

Years of methane chicanery

OPINION: The passage of time has taught me that most people have been so bombarded with climate change stories and the ‘need to do something’, they believe it.

Low methane livestock a reality

AgResearch scientists' work to successfully breed low methane emitting sheep has the potential to help all NZ livestock farmers lower their carbon footprint.

Methane inhibitor shows results

A feed additive that reduces methane emissions in ruminants is poised for commercial launch in Australia - making it one of the first global markets to access the product.

No sector agreement on new methane target

Despite agreement among farm industry bodies that the current methane targets for the sector are excessive, not based on science and need to be changed, there is currently no plan in place to achieve this.


Genetics focus boosts herd

A strong focus on genetics and DNA has paid dividends for Fernside dairy farmer Julie Bradshaw with four of her…

Machinery & Products

A baler like no other

While baler-wrapper combinations have become the backbone of baled silage production, one machine stands out from the rest in the…

Small bales in demand

While round or large square bales have the dominant shares in the rural landscape, small square bales still play an…

Amazone's one-pass operation

Ag machinery maker Amazone has paired up its Precea precision air seeder and Combi-Disc 3000 compact disc harrow to deliver…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

$1m remains unpaid

OPINION: A group of New Zealand farmers who collectively sold $1 million worth of cattle to a live export company…

Too close for comfort

OPINION: One vet believes the threat of foot-and-mouth entering New Zealand is much higher than what authorities tell the public.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter