Tuesday, 06 June 2023 17:55

$2.5m investment in methane mitigation

Written by  David Anderson
New Zealand researchers working on a methane vaccine for use on farm. New Zealand researchers working on a methane vaccine for use on farm.

The Centre for Climate Action Joint Venture (the JV) says it will invest up to $2.5 million to support research on developing a methane vaccine and methane inhibitor for use on New Zealand farms.

The research is co-funded by the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) and is focused on reducing the methane emissions from cattle, sheep and deer in pasture-based farming systems.

The JV and the NZAGRC are two parts of the Government's newly established Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions.

The JV is an investment fund established in February between Government and major agribusiness companies to help pasture-based farmers in Aotearoa New Zealand reduce their agricultural emissions by 30% by 2030.

The JV's shareholders are ANZCO Foods, Fonterra, Rabobank, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait owning 50%, with the other 50% owned by the Crown through MPI. To date, shareholders have committed around $170 million over the next four years to the JV.

Research into the methane vaccine has been undertaken since 2007 and is overseen by the Methane Vaccine Think Tank, a group of global vaccine experts.

If successful, tthe methane vaccine would be a world first and would provide a simple, effective solution for New Zealand's farmers to reduce their methane emissions from animals on farm and meet emissions reduction targets.

The JV will also be investing in a research programme to develop potent inhibitors for delivery from intra-ruminal capsules that could be used by New Zealand farmers to reduce methane emissions from their grazing ruminant livestock.

Methane inhibitors or feed additives offer a real opportunity to lower emissions by reducing the activity of methane-producing microbes (methanogens) in the digestive systems (rumen) of ruminant livestock.

The JV's executive director Wayne McNee says these investments align well with its focus on supporing research and technology to develop practical tools to reduce agricultural emissions in New Zealand, for use by New Zealand's pasture-based farmers.

"The research underway into a methane vaccine and methane inhibitor is producing promising results and our investment will provide the funding required for continuing this research."

McNee says the ambition is to ensure all livestock farmers in NZ have equitable access to affordable, effective solutions to reduce biogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions, with a goal of supporting a 30% reduction by 2030 and enabling development and adoption of solutions to drive towards 'near zero' by 2040.

These new investments follow the JV's announcement in April that it has invested $1.8 million in Ruminant Biotech, a New Zealand-based start-up that is developing a slow-release, biodegradable methane-inhibiting bolus.

"New Zealand's global customers are setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, and if we can't meet these targets export revenue will be under threat.

"We must confront this reality, and I believe we can meet the challenge," McNee says.

"We're focused on scaling up efforts made to date by Kiwi farmers and agri-researchers and forging ahead with investigating new opportunities and investments."

More like this

Featured

Insurance Council urges bold action

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) is urging the Government to take a leadership role on climate adaptation and build New Zealand’s resilience against the impacts of climate change on lives and property.

Draft emissions plan a mixed bag

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) says documents released as part of the Government’s second emissions reduction plan consultation contain some positive elements, but also concerning ones.

Feral cattle wreak havoc

According to John Roche, MPI, the saviour for Chatham Island farmers this season has been the weather.

National

Milk's more than just protein

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther said that while the Our Land and Water National Science…

Machinery & Products

More efficient jumbo wagons

In a move that will be welcomed by many, Austrian manufacturer Pottinger appears to be following a trend of bringing…

Fieldays' top young innovator

Growing up on a South Waikato sheep and beef farm, Penny Ranger has firsthand experience on the day-to-day challenges.

Claas completes 500,000th machine

Claas is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936, marking the occasion by building anniversary machines from the…

Donated tractors welcome news

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February 2023, it left an estimated $13.5 billion worth of damage across New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Objection!

OPINION: In 2021 a group of prominent academics got ’cancelled’ for daring to oppose changes to the school curriculum that…

Under pressure

OPINION: On top of the rural banking inquiry, several as-yet-unnamed banks are facing a complaint to the Financial Markets Authority…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter