AgResearch scientists Gemma Henderson and Peter Janssen are conducting a census of rumen microbes from farmed ruminants in different parts of the world. This is being done as part of a Livestock Research Group project funded by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (formerly Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry), as part of its commitment to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).
Ruminants have a modified digestive tract, in which the feed is first fermented by a complex community of microbes in a forestomach called the rumen. This has the advantage of converting feed that is of low energy value for mammals into products that are more valuable for the ruminant animal. However, one of the by-products of this fermentation is methane, which is released into the atmosphere.
This ruminant derived methane is implicated in global climate change. In response to this, research groups around the world are working to develop mitigation technologies to reduce the amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gases produced from animal agriculture. Among these are technologies to inhibit the methane producing microbes or to direct the rumen fermentation away from methane and towards products that benefit the animal.
Modifying the rumen fermentation required a good knowledge of which microbes are to be targeted. If all ruminants harbour essentially the same microbes, then mitigation technologies targeting microbes are likely to be universal and transferable. This is where Gemma and Peter and their research come in. They are conducting a census of rumen microbes in samples being sent to them from a network of collaborators and colleagues from around the world. At the time of writing, samples have arrived or have been promised from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay. Some countries are represented by multiple research institutes, which adds valuable diversity to the range of animals and feeding systems.
Any researchers who are interested in participating in this project and are able to supply samples can contact the project team at [email protected].
By Peter H. Janssen
Researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are working in four countries to assess the contribution that small farmers can make to carbon markets and ways to link them to these markets.
Greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced and carbon sequestered through the adoption of climate-friendly agronomic practices – for example crop-residue management and no-tillage farming – and through improved use of organic and chemical fertilisers. By ‘trading’ carbon stored or emissions reduced, a carbon market provides a means to turn this useful activity into a profitable one. Read the full article on the New Agriculturist website.
As Global demand for livestock products continues to grow so do the greenhouse gas emissions of the livestock sector.
CIAT’s Andy Jarvis spoke about estimating livestock greenhouse gas emissions and the mitigation options for this sector during the Annual Meeting of the Inter-Agency Donor Group (IADG) of the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
This presentation and article are available on the CIAT website.
Researchers at the University of British Colombia have won a major grant from Agriculture Canada to identify the best way to water and fertilize crops in order to maximize resources while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. The $1.2-million grant is drawn from the $27-million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) to develop technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farming.
The AGGP represents Canada’s initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an international network of more than 30 member countries that will coordinate and increase agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and make new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers. Read the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada media release for more on this project.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed on 17 April between USDA’s National Agroforestry Center and Canada’s Agri-Environment Service Branch’s Agroforestry Development Centre has established a cooperative partnership to collaborate on research and development. This includes the advancement of agroforestry science and tools for climate change mitigation and adaptation in temperate North America.
The The two centers will also support the Global Research Alliance on Agriculture Greenhouse Gases, of which both countries are members. Information will be shared with landowners, managers, and natural resource professionals.
The Global Research Alliance is pleased to welcome Thailand as its newest member country. Thailand has been a participant in the Alliance since it was launched, and we are please to announce that the Government has recently endorsed the Alliance Charter approving Thailand’s full Membership.
There are now 33 Member countries participating in the activities of the Global Research Alliance: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam.
For more information on Thailand’s participation in the Alliance or how to become a member country please contact the Alliance Secretariat.
AgreenSkills is a new international mobility programme that supports inventive, talented and promising young researchers (post doc) from all disciplines and from all over the world to develop challenging basic or targeted research projects in the fields of agriculture, environment, food and nutrition, and animal health.
The programme is coordinated by France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and Agreenium, a consortium comprising the main French agricultural and veterinary research and higher education organisations. It is co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the COFUND-FP7 People Programme.
AgreenSkills offers incoming and outgoing fellowships with attractive conditions in terms of salary, optimal research conditions, training, networking opportunities and personalised support for career development planning. It is aimed at talented young researchers from all over the world holding a PhD and having a maximum of ten years research experience after their Masters degree. It operates a continuous call for applications, with two selection rounds per year. The first call opened on 15 March 2012 and the first selection round is scheduled for June 2012. A second selection round will be carried out in the northern hemisphere autumn with a deadline for applications of 15 November 2012.
To find out more about the programme, including details on eligibility and selection criteria as well as all the necessary documents to apply, please visit: www.agreenskills.eu or contact its coordinators, Gilles Aumont (INRA – [email protected]) or Odile Vilotte (Agreenium – [email protected]).
The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change was set up in 2011 to come up with an integrated approach for dealing with the urgent and globally interconnected challenges of climate change and agriculture. Their final report, which was launched 28 March 2012 at the Planet Under Pressure conference, offers concrete actions to transforming the food system to achieve food security in the face of climate change. Read more about the Commission and download the report from their website.
The Livestock Research Group held the first in a series of regional capacity building workshops March 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop provided an opportunity for regional scientists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to identify future collaborations and coordinate capacity building activities in livestock mitigation research across South-East Asia.
Information about the Workshop, the agenda, the summary of outcomes and all the presentations are now available to read and download from the Livestock Research Group capability development page.
Canadian farmers will have the opportunity to increase their profits while improving the environment with the support of the Government of Canada. Member of Parliament Guy Lauzon (Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced an investment of over $600,000 to the South Nation Conservation Authority to study new drainage practices that would improve water use and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
This investment is provided through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a five-year, $27-million initiative that focuses on the development of on-farm greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. The AGGP will provide funding to various partners across Canada to investigate innovative mechanisms, tools and approaches that provide real solutions for the agriculture sector.
The AGGP represents Canada’s initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an international network of more than 30 member countries that will coordinate and increase agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and make new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers. Read the full article here.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in irrigated rice farms through efficient water management to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
See more about IRRI’s presentation at the recent APEC symposium on Climate change here.
IRRI collaborates with the Rice Research Group and attended the third meeting of this Group in November 2011.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is pleased to announce the 2012 USDA Global Research Alliance (GRA) Fellowships for Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, and Vietnam.
USDA, in cooperation with USAID, will support the participation of Alliance member developing countries in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases through the Global Research Alliance Fellowships. Competitively selected research fellows will work side-by-side with U.S. scientists on climate change mitigation research for up to 3 months. These fellowships will be hosted by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and/or U.S. universities active in the targeted research areas. U.S. scientists who serve as mentors to the fellows will travel to the fellows’ country for up to 10 days to continue their collaboration on climate change mitigation research. USDA will select U.S. mentors and host institutions for each fellow.
Targeted Research Areas:
- Developing Tools for Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Sequestration Assessments.
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity in Crop Production Systems.
- Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity in Livestock Production Systems.
- Developing Databases and Strategies for Synthesis, Integration, and Decision Support to Manage Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Systems.
Learn more about these fellowships on the USDA website.