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Fonterra’s Investment in Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Research
- Fonterra is committed to reducing our carbon footprint in order to minimise the impact our value chain has on the global warming. 85 per cent of our carbon footprint occurs on farm where mitigation opportunities are very limited. We recognise the need to find solutions to the agricultural emissions that make up the majority of our carbon foot-print. As a result we have been investing in agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research since 2003.
- 2003 was the year that the new Zealand based Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium was established, with Fonterra being one of the founding partners. This is a research partnership between New Zealand pastoral organisations and The New Zealand Government.
- The Consortium’s programmes are acknowledged as the most comprehensive of their type in the world. The target is to reduce total NZ pastoral emissions by 10% per unit of production by 2013, using 2004 emissions as the baseline. The 10% reduction is on top of reductions forecast from higher farm efficiency.
- A major milestone for the research has been the mapping of a methanogen genome (the microbe responsible for creating methane). This is an important first step towards development of methane reduction technologies, including a methane vaccine for dairy cattle.
- Nitrification inhibitors provide a tool to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils. Currently their uptake in New Zealand has been mainly limited to Canterbury, as the climate conditions in this region are optimal for their use. We have partnered with the New Zealand fertiliser industry, DairyNZ and Government to invest in further field trials of nitrification inhibitors. These tests aim to establish efficacy and best use parameters of nitrification inhibitors in a range of regions throughout New Zealand. If the positive effects can be confirmed in other regions, this will increase farmer confidence and uptake.
- The Consortium is developing tools to breed forage which enable greater milk production to be achieved with a smaller environmental footprint.
- Through this consortium NZ$43 million will be spent between 2003 and 2012 in agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research.