Breaking News on Dairy Processing & Markets

DairyNZ launches environmental plan

Post a comment

By Jim Cornall+


The New Zealand dairy industry is looking to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms. Pic: ©iStock/blagov58
The New Zealand dairy industry is looking to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms. Pic: ©iStock/blagov58

On Wednesday, DairyNZ launched its Dairy Action for Climate Change document, which is designed to lay down the foundation to reduce greenhouse gasses on dairy farms.

The plan, spearheaded by DairyNZ, which represents all dairy farmers in New Zealand, is in partnership with Fonterra. 

It has the support of the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Science foundation needed

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle said science-based dairy farming is the way New Zealand can lower its environmental footprint, and that dairy farmers and the scientists working alongside them, are serious about improving the environment.  

Mackle said the industry is taking the first steps in understanding what dairy can do – in conjunction with the wider agricultural sector, plus industry and urban communities – to help meet New Zealand’s Paris Agreement emissions reduction target.

“Our farmers are ready to work on lowering emissions,” Mackle said, adding they are dedicated stewards of their land who want to do the right thing by the environment.

Dairy responsible for 25% of nation’s GHG emissions

Mackle said addressing on-farm methane and nitrous oxide emissions is one of the most challenging issues facing the dairy and food producing sectors, globally and in New Zealand.

Approximately 50% of New Zealand’s annual emissions are biological emissions from agriculture. Dairy emissions make up approximately half of agriculture’s GHG emissions, and around a quarter of the country’s total emissions.

Fonterra contribution

Fonterra’s chief operating officer Farm Source, Miles Hurrell, said it is crucial to take an integrated approach to all the challenges facing dairy – from climate change and animal welfare, to the protection of waterways – while maintaining productivity and profitability.

“Some of their work – such as tree planting, better soil management and reducing nitrogen leaching [to release] nitrous oxide – is already helping to address emissions,” Hurrell said.

“Then there are the other science-based endeavors that are well under way, like the research to breed cows that produce fewer methane emissions, and a methane inhibiting vaccine.”

Fonterra said it will undertake a GHG on-farm recording pilot involving up to 100 Fonterra suppliers to provide each farmer with a GHG report that includes methane as part of environmental performance reporting they already receive from Fonterra.

Role of BERG

Mackle said Dairy Action for Climate Change  parallels the work of the Biological Emissions Reference Group (BERG), a joint sector and Government reference group.

The BERG’s purpose is to build evidence on what the sector can do on-farm to reduce emissions, and to assess the costs and opportunities of doing so.

The BERG’s final report is due in late 2017. 

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...