Wednesday, 15 April 2020 14:46

Sheep and beef GHGs overstated

Written by  Peter Burke
Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Jeremy Baker. Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Jeremy Baker.

New research indicates NZ’s sheep and beef greenhouse gas emissions have been overstated.

AgResearch has developed a more accurate calculation of the nitrous oxide emissions from sheep, beef and dairy production, which shows that nitrous oxide emissions are two thirds and one third respectively lower than previously thought.  

The new nitrous oxide measurement will see total sheep emissions (including methane and nitrous oxide emissions) around 10.6 % lower than previously reported. Beef cattle will be down by 5% and dairy cattle by 1.4%.

The improvement in the calculation of emissions results in a 4.4% reduction in the agriculture sector’s overall reported emissions for 2017, and a 2.1% decrease in New Zealand’s overall reported emissions. 

This new research reveals that livestock’s overall contribution to New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions is lower than previously calculated.  

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Jeremy Baker says the research highlights how understanding about livestock’s contribution to warming is continuing to evolve, and the importance of continuing to invest in science in these areas. 

“The agricultural sector is committed to playing its part in tackling the challenge of climate change, and the New Zealand sheep and beef sector has already reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions by more than 32% since 1990, whilst maintaining similar levels of production,” he says.

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