International collaboration delivers new tools to help tackle agricultural emissions

The Global Research on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), an alliance backed by New Zealand is delivering promising new technologies such as cow vaccines and probiotics to tackle agricultural emissions, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said.

Eleven research projects, funded and delivered under the alliance of 64 countries, have been recently completed.

Damien O’Connor said reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is a global challenge and a key part of the Government’s Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential Roadmap, released last year.

“The completed projects have enabled important discoveries, significantly advanced scientists’ understanding, and led to the development of technologies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.”

Project milestones include:

  • new technologies for developing methane vaccines which have now been included in New Zealand’s domestic vaccine programme for cattle
  • better understanding how ‘direct-fed’ microbial and silage inoculant products can be produced to enable cows to deliver beneficial microbes to pastures, which includes contributing to Fonterra’s new methane-reducing probiotic for cows called KowbuchaTM
  • potential nitrification inhibitors to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching from grazed pastures
  • identifying new potential compounds and ways to inhibit the production of methane in the rumen of cattle
  • boosting scientific understanding of how irrigation management can reduce nitrous oxide emissions from soils without affecting pasture dry matter production

New Zealand contributed one third of the global investment of $28.7 million in the projects.

Damien O’Connor said the GRA provides a multinational platform to identify global climate issues and work together to make breakthroughs and develop practical solutions.

“The GRA enables us to identify, understand, and tackle issues more rapidly than if each country acted alone.  It also provides a network for sharing, so the research outcomes can have wider benefits across the globe.”

Fit for a Better World has bold targets for New Zealand to move to a low emissions economy.  The important discoveries and technologies from this GRA-funded research add to the growing global toolkit of practical tools and techniques available to our farmers and growers.

 “New Zealand has been a leader in pastoral farm production, now we need to be leaders at reducing while producing,” Damien O’Connor said.

Source:  Minister of Agriculture 

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog