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Methane-measuring facility world-leader

5 June 2008
Media Statement


Methane-measuring facility world-leader

A world-leading facility for measuring methane emissions from sheep and cattle will help in New Zealand’s response to climate change and build on the country’s reputation as an international leader in pastoral agriculture.
Palmerston North MP Steve Maharey, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton, unveiled the AgResearch facility at Palmerston North as part of World Environment Day.

Jim Anderton said World Environment Day was an appropriate occasion to formally launch the facility, because the most significant greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand included methane from livestock.

He said the ruminant calorimetry facility will allow accurate measurements of methane emissions from sheep and cattle.  The facility will be used to test products and practices that are effective at reducing methane emissions from New Zealand’s pastoral agriculture.

The project, which will be completed by the end of June, involves the addition of four additional chambers to the current facility for testing sheep and the construction of a new chamber for cattle.

 “The state-of-the art cattle colorimeter chamber will be sturdy, moveable and easy to maintain, yet be highly accurate and compliant with animal welfare requirements.  

“I fully expect this equipment to boost New Zealand’s position as a world leader in research to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.”

In February, the Government announced funding for the facility as part of a $5 research package. AgResearch and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC) were awarded the contract to build the facility.

Once completed, it will be managed jointly by MAF, the PGGRC and AgResearch. The research is part of a broader sustainable land management and climate change package of $175 million over five years.

The successful proposals were intended to assist New Zealand’s land-based sectors to adapt to climate change and to explore potential business opportunities. The successful proposals also include equipping the sector with a range of measurement, monitoring and assessment tools to assist them in managing greenhouse emissions.  

New Zealand has an unusual greenhouse gas emissions profile for a developed country.  Methane and nitrous oxide from its agricultural sector account for almost 50% of the country’s total emissions.  

To celebrate World Environment Day, the Government is showcasing things New Zealanders are doing to promote sustainability and reduce the impacts of climate change.

ends

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