Phil Journeaux, Consulting Agricultural Economist
NZ international GHG commitments are:
- 2015 – Paris Agreement to reduce emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Zero Carbon Bill:
- CO2 and N2O to zero by 2050
- CH4 reduced to 10% below 2017 by 2030
- 24-47% below 2017 by 2050
NZ has a high proportion of GHG from agriculture (close to 50%), different from typical developed countries. A large part comes from ruminants CH4(>70%) and soils NO2 (>20%).
Livestock are a source of CH4 and NO2. Per kg DM eaten 21 grams of CH4 is produced. This is lower at higher feeding levels; e.g. 2x vs. maintenance and with certain feeds (i.e. cereals, forage rape and fodder beet). Some additives reduce emissions; e.g. lipids, monensin, essential oils, garlic. The effect is small and variable. Variation between animals in emissions per unit of intake is linked to rumen size, rate of passage and microbial community structure.
- increase animal productivity and efficiency
- additional technologies that reduce emissions
- constraint on total production; move to lower emitting land uses (cropping, horticulture and forestry)
New technologies under development:
- low CH4 emitting sheep (10% efficiency, 2-3 years)
- low CH4 emitting cattle (10% efficiency, 2-5 years)
- CH4 vaccine (30% efficiency, 5-10 years)
- CH4 inhibitors (30+% efficiency, 2-5 years)
Soil carbon – for most NZ pasture on flat to rolling land are at steady state. Some gains on hill country, some practices can decrease it; e.g. cropping and irrigated pasture. Can be protected by decreasing length of time soil remains fallow.
Intensity of emissions by product (kgCO2e/kg product):
- 8.76 per kg Milk Solid
- 14.2 per kg beef
- 23.57 per kg sheep meat
- 19.56 per kg goat meat
- 30.7 per kg venison
Farmax modelling showed that on-farm system change can impact on GHG emissions, but limited: in general: 2-10% reduction, variable impact on profitability (but mostly negative). Each farm is different.
Point of obligation at processor or farm level: Currently under the ETS/ZCB this is at the processor level – administratively easier – processors will pass this on via lower payouts / schedules.
Current plan for agriculture:
- Industry lead initiative with government assistance – a 5 year plan.
- Government will check progress in 2022. If not sufficient – agriculture could come into the ETS with the point of obligation at the processor level.
- If the pricing scheme is not ready for implementation by 2025, agriculture will come into the ETS with the point of obligation at the processor level.
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