Goal - to help create the future dairy industry. An example:
New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre opened
The New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre
A new Centre to research agricultural greenhouse gas issues is being hosted by AgResearch at its Grasslands campus and was officially opened by the Prime Minister in March this year.
Backed by $5 million of Government funding a year for the next 10 years, the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre is a partnership between AgResearch, DairyNZ, Landcare Research, Lincoln University, Massey University, NIWA, Plant & Food Research, the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and Scion.
Director Dr Harry Clark says the Centre will fund and co-ordinate research to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions and to increase the rate of soil carbon accumulation.
While agriculture creates about half New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, it also generates about 44% of the country’s merchandise export earnings.
“The challenge is to find ways for New Zealand to meet its international greenhouse gas emission obligations, without reducing agricultural output,” Dr Clark said.
In one project, the Centre will provide additional funding to a Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium programme in which AgResearch scientists are exploring the genetics behind a low-methane sheep flock; this programme could eventually result in breeding programmes for low-emission animals.
A three year project funded by MAF through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Fund is screening a broad range of plants to determine whether there are plant species or traits that can reduce methane emissions.
Another project looking at reducing methane emissions focuses on designing molecules to inhibit enzyme reactions essential to methanogen function.
And yet another project aims to create profitable, carbon-friendly farming systems by measuring how farm management decisions influence the carbon footprint and the economic performance of pastoral farms.
The Centre will also play a key role in the country’s science input into a worldwide initiative, the Global Research Alliance. This is a New Zealand Government initiative announced in Copenhagen last year which now comprises 29 countries. Its inaugural meeting was held in April this year in Wellington.