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Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre Opened

Media release

22 February 2011

New Zealand Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre Is Opened By The Hon. David Carter, Minister Of Agriculture

The New Zealand Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre (NZRMMC) was officially opened today by the Hon. David Carter, Minister of Agriculture. The NZRMMC is the largest purpose built facility of its kind in the world and provides New Zealand scientists with an enviable opportunity to accurately measure methane emissions from more than 25 ruminant animals at the same time.

Funding of $1.2 million from the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) located at AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North, has enabled the building of new respiration chambers for sheep and cattle and the upgrading of an existing building to provide a single, purpose designed facility to house all of AgResearch’s existing sheep and cattle respiration chambers. The facility houses 24 respiration chambers for sheep and 4 respiration chambers for cattle and allows continuous measurements of methane emissions under highly controlled conditions. The new facility enables the easy flow of animals from the acclimatisation stage to the measurement phase which reduces labour requirements and experimental costs. Animal welfare is a priority and the state of the art building is fully air conditioned to deliver fresh air to the respiration chambers at a temperature and relative humidity which maximises animal comfort; it has a back-up power supply in case of a power cut, and is continuously monitored in case of emergency.

Dr Harry Clark, Director of the NZAGRC said “the new facility provides New Zealand scientists with world class facilities and equipment and clearly demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Our goal is to develop technologies and practices that reduce agricultural emissions and the NZRMMC will enhance New Zealand’s capacity in the methane measurement area and facilitate the forging of the national and international partnerships that are necessary to achieve this goal”.

The opening of the NZRMMC kick-starts the 1st Annual NZAGRC Conference to be held at Massey University’s Sport and Rugby Institute, Palmerston North. It has been almost 12 months since the Centre was officially opened and this is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the work of the Centre and the progress the partnership has made during this time. The NZAGRC is a leading example of how scientists, research organisations and key stakeholders can work together to wisely invest new funds by building on existing significant investment, starting new areas of research and bring greater coordination to effort to discover and implement cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation solutions for New Zealand farmers. The conference is a chance to hear and reflect on New Zealand’s response to the global issue of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. To enable this to happen we are fortunate to have assembled an impressive list of speakers representing government, policy, science and industry. Reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining food production is a challenge the world has to solve as a matter of urgency and this conference will provide us all with an opportunity to assess how New Zealand is responding to this challenge.

Speakers include: the Hon David Carter, Minister of Agriculture; Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s Science Adviser; Jo Tyndall, New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador; John Hutchings of Fonterra; Wayne McNee, Director-General of MAF.

Funding for the NZAGRC comes from the New Zealand Government.


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