September 11, 2012   •   News

Alliance member countries sent representatives and research experts to a workshop in Bangkok, Thailand on the 20th June to develop a Livestock Research Group Animal Health and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity Network. This initial workshop coincided with the 15th International Congress on Infectious Diseases and STAR-IDAZ meetings (http://www.star-idaz.net/).

The workshop was a perfect opportunity to see how STAR-IDAZ and the Livestock Research Group could work together to promote the understanding of animal disease and greenhouse gas emissions intensity in order to identify possible future work. Experts and Alliance dicussed the scope of a possible animal health and greenhouse gas emissions intensity network under the Livestock Research Group. For more information on this Network, including presentations from the workshop see the LRG networks and databases page.

August 31, 2012   •   News

A priority project for the Alliance’s Livestock Research Group has been the evaluation of the USA developed GreenFeed (C-Lock) system to measure methane emissions from cattle in herd grazing situations.

An international collaboration between scientists in New Zealand and the USA to evaluate field methane measurement from cattle using the C-Lock system (an automated methane measurement system).  The US scientists had developed the C-Lock system for a temperate grazing pastoral system.  The UK and Australian governments have invested in the purchase of C-Lock systems and will spend time trialling and evaluating the system for use in their countries, but using the results from this study as background information.

A brief report on the first evaluation of this system under controlled conditions in New Zealand may be requested from the authors. Please visit the LRG technical information and knowledge page for more information.

August 6, 2012   •   News

A new report by the Technical Working Group on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (T-AGG) at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions synthesizes the fundamental information needed to design programs for livestock producers to report and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It discusses in detail strategies to reduce enteric and manure methane emissions from dairy, beef, and swine systems.

The full report, released at the July C-AGG meeting, is available online along with a shorter companion brief. Learn more about the full T-AGG body of work, which provides a technical foundation for programs to engage farmers and ranchers on working agricultural land in the United States, on the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions website.

July 20, 2012   •   News

An article has been published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Information about the development of a literature database for the Alliance’s Croplands Research Group. The database allows members of the Croplands Research Group to search and upload references of published literature concerned with mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from croplands by country, climate or cropping system.

The database was developed by faculty and staff at Kansas State University Libraries in collaboration with Dr Chuck Rice of Kansas State University. The article covers the development and implementation of the database as well as lessons learned.

The Croplands Research Group is happy to have contributed to this published paper and is grateful to Chuck Rice and K-State for their partnership.

The article can be downloaded from the Journal of Agricultural & Food Information

Livia Olsen, Tara Baillargeon & Harish Maringanti (2012): Developing an Open Access Croplands Research Database Through Global Collaboration, Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 13:1, 35-44.

July 17, 2012   •   News

The Research Groups Chairs give their presentation

A short summary report from the June 2012 meeting of the Alliance Council in Saskatoon, Canada is now available for you to download and read.

The meeting was attended by participants from 21 member countries, two observer countries and representatives from invited international organisations.

The meeting saw New Zealand hand over the role of Alliance Chair to Canada, Uruguay was confirmed as the vice-Chair. Outcomes included the finalisation of the Alliance Communications Policy, and update from the Research and cross-cutting Groups of the Alliance and presentations from international organisations invited as Partners of the Alliance.

Read the Alliance Council meeting summary.

July 11, 2012   •   News

The Livestock Research Group has just released the July 2012 edition of their newsletter.

In this edition you will find:

  • A country focus on Ghana
  • Knowledge and technology transfer through a New Zealand industry-government consortium
  • Information about the UK’s GHG research platform
  • An update from the recent Alliance Council meeting


Regular features in the newsletter also include updates from the research networks of the Livestock Research Groups, capability building opportunities and articles on projects being undertaken in member countries.

Download the newsletter or visit the Livestock Research Group page.

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.