Agricultural greenhouse gas research – new centre launched

NZAgGhGPrime Minister John Key today launched the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, which will be headquartered in Palmerston North at AgResearch.

The Centre is a partnership between AgResearch, DairyNZ, Landcare Research, Lincoln University, Massey University, NIWA, Plant & Food Research, the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) and Scion.

What research will be brought together under the Centre’s banner?

Details are not expected until later this month, but media releases thus far imply that under the new system, existing research projects are likely to be coordinated and supported, rather than superseded.

With this in mind, the SMC has pulled together a resource sheet on current New Zealand agricultural greenhouse gas research at a various institutions throughout the country:

Useful links:

Livestock Emissions and Abatement Research Network (LEARN) – an international research network led by NZ; includes a global directory of research associates

Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) – a public/private research consortium founded in 2003 to coordinate research into agricultural GHG

In the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology’s 2008/09 contestable funding round, 37 research projects received funding under the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change theme (Round 1 projects, Round 2 projects [PDF files]). Many are related to mitigation of agricultural greenhouse gases. These include:

  • GHG Mitigation Using Efficient Cows – DairyNZ; Science leader: Dr Garry Waghorn
  • Reducing agricultural methane emissions – Landcare Research; Science leader: Dr Adrian Walcroft
  • Accelerated ruminant methane mitigation – PGgRc; Science leader: Dr Peter Jannsen
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the agricultural sector – NIWA; Science leader: Dr Mike Harvey
  • Biochar in grazed pasture systems – Lincoln University; Science leader: Dr Tim Clough
  • Sheep, cattle, and methane predictors – AgResearch; Science leader: Dr Russell Snell
  • Planet to paddocks land-use trends – Landcare Research; Science leader: Dr Daniel Rutledge
  • Farm management and GHG for pastoral sector – AgResearch; Science leader: Dr Robyn Dynes
  • Identifying non agricultural and agricultural plant species with anti-methanogenic properties – AgResearch; Science leader: Dr Gerald Cosgrove

Other areas of ongoing research include:

Methanogen research
Vaccine for livestock to create immune response against methane-producing bacteria    PGgRc/AgResearch    Key scientist: Dr Bryce Buddle
Sequencing the genome of methane-producing bacteria in the rumen    PGgRc / AgResearch    Key scientist: Dr Graeme Atwood

Livestock genetics
Selective breeding of livestock to produce low methane emitting animals; animal variation (PDF)     PGgRc / AgResearch     Key scientists: Dr Harry Clark, Dr Ben Vlaming

Livestock nutrition
Optimum diet and/or feed supplements for reduced emissions    -AgResearch    Key scientist: Dr Cesar Pinares-Patiño;  -DairyNZ   Key scientist: Dr Garry Waghorn

Soil carbon
Soil carbon inventory, nitrous/methane mitigation    Landcare Research    Key scientist: Dr David Whitehead

Nitrous oxide
Reducing nitrous oxide emissions from ruminant livestock        AgResearch    Key scientist: Dr Cecile de Klein
Nitrogen-inhibiting spray (Eco-N) Lincoln University    Key scientists: Dr Keith Cameron, Dr Hong Di

Sequestration of carbon in agricultural soils using biochar (charcoal) Massey University    Key scientist: Dr Attilio Pignieri

Methane digestion/biogas
Landcare Research   Key scientist: Dr Adrian Walcroft;  PGG Wrightson Consulting      Key contact: Tony Rhodes

NB: The above list is intended primarily as an overview, and should not be considered exhaustive.