July 1, 2012   •   News

Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Second round of the New Zealand Fund for Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research (the Fund) are now being called.  The Fund is aimed at accelerating global research into mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral livestock farming.

The Fund is open to international scientists, and it is hoped that multi-stakeholder/country consortia bids will be put forward. Projects can be led by New Zealand or international participants, but must include a New Zealand partner. Co-funding from international participants is also required.

Round 2 of the Fund totals NZ$15 million, and supports projects up to three years in duration. The cost of individual projects is expected to be in the range of NZ$1-3 million over the four years.

The Fund will seek proposals in response to a set of high-level research challenges that have been identified by an international strategic science panel, chaired by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Professor Sir Peter Gluckman. These challenges are in the areas of:

  • Manipulating rumen function
  • Reducing nitrous oxide emissions from soils in predominantly grazing livestock systems
  • Manipulating the rates of soil carbon change in predominantly grazing livestock systems
  • Improved information for farmer decision making in predominantly grazing livestock systems  


The Fund follows a two-stage application process beginning with a short expression of interest (EOI) which closes 27 August 2012. Successful EOI applicants are then invited to submit full proposals. Projects from Round 2 that gain approval are expected to commence in July 2013.

Please visit http://www.mpi.govt.nz/nzlivestockemissionsfund to obtain further information on the fund as well as the guidelines and application forms.

June 12, 2012   •   News

Last weeks Alliance Council meeting in Saskatoon, Canada saw Canada take of role of Council Chair.

See below for links to further articles mentioning the meeting and Canada’s agricultural greenhouse gas research efforts that support the work of the Global Research Alliance.

Alliance Discusses Reduction of Greenhouse Gases

Timing is key for Climate Change Research

June 6, 2012   •   News

Canada takes over from New Zealand as Council Chair for the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases at the Alliance Council meeting taking place this week in Saskatoon, Canada.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced an investment of more than $3.4 million to the University of Saskatchewan to study how to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the areas of agroforestry, irrigation and nitrogen use. Minister Ritz made the announcement just as meetings of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases were commencing in Saskatoon.

Read the press release about Canada’s research investments to support the Global Research Alliance at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

May 21, 2012   •   News

Peatlands store tremendous amounts of carbon. However, when they are drained and used – mainly for agriculture, grazing and forestry – peatlands become significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Peatlands drainage and peat fires are responsible for almost one-quarter of carbon emissions from the land use sector. 

To address this situation, FAO and Wetlands International have launched the global ‘Organic soils and peatlands climate change mitigation initiative’.  The Initiative is an informal network of organizations and people committed to reducing emissions from peatlands and safeguarding the other vital ecosystem services peatlands provide. Institutions currently involved in the initiative include FAO, Wetlands InternationalGreifswald UniversityIUCN UKGlobal Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, the Center for International Forestry Research(CIFOR), Global Environment Centre (GEC), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the University of Helsinki.  

The Initiative will be launched on 17 May in Bonn Germany at a side event at the thirty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) held during the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change Conference. At the launch, the Initiative‘s first publication will be released, ‘Peatlands – guidance for climate change mitigation by conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable use’. To download the publication, click here.

May 16, 2012   •   News
Samples of freeze-dried rumen contents from all over the globe are starting to arrive at AgResearch’s laboratories in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

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).

Faith Cox and Dr Gemma Henderson with the package containing rumen samples from Canada, the first to arrive for the global census of rumen microbes

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

May 11, 2012   •   News

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.

May 7, 2012   •   News

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.

April 24, 2012   •   News

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.

April 19, 2012   •   News

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.

For further information see the USDA news update and the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada news release.

April 15, 2012   •   News

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.

April 9, 2012   •   News

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]).

March 29, 2012   •   News

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.