The goal is to construct a 'state of the art' continuous flow fermentation system for use by rumen microbiologists/rumen nutritionists in order to speed up work on developing mitigation solutions for enteric methane emissions from ruminants.
Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change research reports
A list of reports produced by the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change research programme, categorised by topic.
Farmed animals in New Zealand contribute around 46% of the country’s greenhouse gas output. Of this, approximately 69% is methane (CH4) and 31% is nitrous oxide (N2O), with 80% of the latter resulting from nitrification and denitrification of urinary nitrogen by soil microorganisms and, to a much lesser extent, faecal nitrogen. To date, models evaluating the nitrogen (N) excretion of ruminants have assumed that N excreted in urine is constant and research on mitigating N2O output has largely focussed on nitrification inhibitors such as dicyandiamide (DCD), stand-off pads to keep stock off pastures in wet conditions and feeding low N feeds such as maize silage.
MPI Technical Paper No: 2012/41
A review of the DCD literature is covered with respect to studies examining the use, loss and degradation of DCD when applied to agricultural systems. It has been mooted that the loss of DCD to waterways could potentially cause a build-up of ammonia thereby potentially harming aquatic ecosystems.
Previous farm systems modelling to quantify the role of farm management on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has identified promising options for reducing emissions from dairy systems. Some of these options have been included in the design of the Pastoral 21 farmlet studies that ran from 2011 to 2015 in Waikato, Manawatu, Canterbury and South Otago.
The research programme explored the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use of fossil fuels by farm equipment and rural trucking by substitution with biofuel. Biofuel production on that scale requires purpose-grown energy crops. Our research has designed a novel energy crop production system that also reduces GHG emissions (from the manufacture of N fertiliser) by virtue of its ‘closed loop N supply’ feature.
This chapter deals with the contribution New Zealand’s planted forests make to carbon stocks, and stock changes, reported and accounted as part of the LULUCF sector under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.
This report, commissioned by MAF, assesses a selected range of policy instruments for mitigation of greenhouse gases in agriculture. The report assesses these options against evaluation criteria and looks at short-term options and longer term strategy.
There are many studies that project the impacts of climate change, including changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), but far fewer that examine the impacts that climate change is already having on our biological systems (Gregory & Marshall 2012).
This project has developed better methods for culturing rumen bacteria, to make them available for more detailed investigation. This research underpins the development of a good fundamental understanding of rumen bacteria, which is a critical step towards manipulation and successful “hydrogen management” as a tool to mitigate rumen methane. The advance was achieved by developing better growth media, and using a statistical approach to rapidly isolate pure cultures of fermentative bacteria. Isolates of new genera of rumen bacteria were obtained that will allow a better understanding of the rumen to be achieved.
Dairy farms in New Zealand use lagoons and ponds to store effluent washdown from milking sheds. These ponds are therefore a significant source of methane. This study aims to test the effectiveness of an improved design of biofilter as an integral part of a pond cover to oxidise CH4 emissions from dairy effluent ponds, thus providing a practical and potentially cost-effective technology to reduce dairy effluent emissions.
Biofiltration, through which CH4 is oxidised by methanotrophic bacteria, is a potentially effective strategy for mitigating CH4 emissions from anaerobic dairy effluent lagoons/ponds, which typically do not produce enough biogas for energy recovery. This study reports on the effectiveness of a biofilter cover design for oxidising CH4 produced by dairy effluent ponds.
This project investigated two novel technologies with the potential to mitigate methane (CH4) emmissions from New Zealand's dairy farms:
1) methane biofilters and
2) a clay-based rumen modifier to reduce methane production in cattle
The nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) is used in New Zealand dairy farming to reduce nitrogen (N) losses from leaching and nitrous oxide emissions. Overseas studies have shown that, in certain conditions, DCD can potentially have an effect on a range of crops. This study assesses the impact of DCD on white clover growth and nitrogen fixation.
Dicyandiamide (DCD) is a nitrification inhibitor that has been used in New Zealand’s agriclutural systems to reduce nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. The efficacy of DCD at reducing both nitrate leaching and N2O can vary with season and soil type. One reason for this is the variation in seasonal soil temperature, since biological degradation of DCD is influenced by temperature. Other possibilities included the level of organic matter in the soil and the degree of soil aeration. Few studies have examined how soil organic matter influences DCD degradation while no studies have performed controlled experiments to determine the effect of soil aeration on DCD.
Cross cutting issues
The purpose of the project was to, in collaboration with Aohanga Incorporation, develop a science-based climate change resilience strategy for Aohanga‘s multiple owned Owahanga Farm Station and to develop a social process framework for engaging rural communities and land-owning Iwi Incorporations in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Applying the right amount of irrigation at the right time without filling the soil profile reduces
unintended environmental impacts: nutrient leaching, emission of nitrous oxide (potent
greenhouse gas) and soil damage by compaction.
Note, while this document is marked 'confidential', it has since been approved for public release.
In New Zealand, forest harvesting contributes about 50 percent of the cost of wood production, one of the highest harvesting costs in the world. The purpose of this project was to address these high costs by producing a dynamic-systems model of the harvesting process which could be used to define factors influencing harvesting productivity, identify opportunities for short-term improvements, and long-term changes to steep slope harvesting.
A case study for the Uawa (East Cape) and Waihou (Northland) catchments
The objective of this research was to develop a ceonceptual framework for the assessment of the effects of climate chagne on hudrological systems in New Zealand. This research commenced with a literature review emphasizing the types of impacts that have been detected previously and methods for detecting and modelling impacts. The conceptual framework was developed and then applied to the Waimea Pains as a test catchment to assess the effect of climate change. Existing climage and hydrological data were analysed to assess possible climate effects. Hydrological and socioeconomic models were developed and implemented to relate possible climate change to derived changes in water availability and economic productivity within the test catchment
The New Zealand Integrated Assessment Modelling System (NZIAMS) was developed between July 2010 and June 2013 by researchers at Landcare Research, AgResearch, New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, and Lincoln University. The project was led by Dr James Lennox, formerly of Landcare Research, who is currently a researcher at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) in Venice, Italy. Its development was funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
MPI Technical Paper No: 2012/38
This document reports on completed and on-going work that examines nitrous oxide emissions from the Waikato River and assesses the results in comparison to previous New Zealand emission factors for indirect losses from rivers. The IPCC’s default emission factor EF5-r currently has a value of 0.0025 kg N2O-N per kg N in the 2006 guidelines1.
Rainfall deficits are a common feature of New Zealand’s climatic environment and it is not unusual to experience short duration dry spells as isolated regional level events.
Geographically widespread rainfall deficits with durations over one to two months are less frequent, and are usually considered to be ‘agricultural droughts’ as modern pastoral and crop production systems are vulnerable to rainfall deficits of this scale and duration. Recently the widespread rainfall deficit spanning late 2007 to the end of autumn 2008 was estimated to cost the New Zealand economy around $2.8 billion (MAF 2009), mainly from negative on-farm impacts but also from smaller but detectable negative impacts on regional economies.
Climate change will alter land suitability for different uses globally and in New Zealand. Shifting patterns, intensities, and frequencies of rainfall, temperature, winds, storms, and distributions of pests and weeds will trigger shifts in land use in complex ways. This report assesses the implications of 11 key trends operating at broad levels and interprets them at progressively finer scales from global to local.
Note, while this document is marked 'confidential', it has since been approved for public release.
This report gathers new above-and below-ground biomass and wood density data for Eucalyptus fastigata for carbon model development, required under NZ’s obligations to the Kyoto Protocol. The biomass work was done in conjunction with a survey of wood density and soil nitrogen fertility undertaken in trials of various ages throughout New Zealand. The entire data set will be used to develop a national carbon growth model for Eucalyptus fastigata in New Zealand.
Popular summary of outcomes from SLMACC contract LCR30615 to Landcare Research, written by Fiona Carswell & Stella Belliss.
National statistics on Harvested Wood Products and trade are used for two purposes related to climate change mitigation: greenhouse gas inventory reporting and Kyoto Protocol accounting. The objective of this report is to provide information that will allow New Zealand to meet the new requirements for Kyoto Protocol accounting and reporting relating to harvested wood products.