Methane & biochar

Interest in methane is bubbling up all over the pace right now…

New research explores how wetlands and agriculture could be causing a global rise in methane

And MPI have just released an RFP for more animal methane studies. NZ$350K allocation as part of the $65M committed by NZ…

Introduction and Background
“The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (Alliance) was launched in December 2009 and it now has over 40 member countries. The New Zealand Government has allocated a total of $65 million budget to support New Zealand’s participation in the Alliance, particularly in its Livestock Research Group which New Zealand co-chairs.

Research investments for the Government’s Alliance budget are identified through a number of channels including, for example, the Livestock Research Group and other Alliance Research Groups, the New Zealand Fund for Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research (GPLER), and bilateral relationships. This RFP seeks to procure a new project that will contribute significantly to New Zealand’s domestic research programme as well as to the wider efforts of the Alliance’s Livestock Research Group.

New Zealand leads the world in the development of low methane emitting sheep. New Zealand researchers were the first to confirm that differences in methane emissions between sheep fed the same diet are consistent and that they have a genetic basis. Contrasting high and low emitting selection lines are now being maintained and the search is underway to develop genomic markers that will allow the cheap and rapid identification of low and high emitting phenotypes. This latter step is critical for the commercial breeding and adoption of lower emitting animals.

Although considerable progress has been made with sheep, progress with cattle has been slower. A major reason for this has been the unavailability of sufficient measurement capacity. Developing the capacity to directly measure methane emissions from the large numbers of animals needed in genetics work is prohibitively expensive. Using funding from rounds 2 and 3 of the GPLER a rapid system for simultaneously measuring intake and methane has been successfully developed and tested for its practicality and ability to provide realistic estimates of daily methane emissions and emissions per unit of feed. A further stage in its testing, which forms the concept behind this RFP, is to ascertain whether the system can detect differences in methane emissions from animals that have been selected for low feed intake, a trait that has been linked to lower emissions.”

With so much current interest around the world on biochar / carbon animal feed applications and the existing research pointing to animal methane reduction from biochar feed supplements, It irks me that there is no govt interest or support in NZ.

Here is a new report on feeding AC to goats… I don’t think goat productivity or methane were measured but it points at least to a safe pathway for biochar application to soil and carbon sequestration.

And here is a Q I’d like answered: the fecal discharge I see from typical dairy herds in NZ looks like industrial scale diarrhoea. Is this the default due to cow genetics is this industry standard, accepted as part of intensive gazing systems? Maybe I need to ask a vet.

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