2011 white PaperSep 28

Following the May 2011 Workshop in Auckland, New Zealand; a White Paper was prepared for the New Zealand Government, whcih discussed how a network of scientists working in the area of Animal Selection, Genetics and Genomics, might progress the management of enteric methane emissions from grazing livestock..

This ‘white paper’ identified an opportunity for NZ to contribute significantly to reducing methane (CH4) emissions and emissions intensity (per unit product) in both cattle and sheep by capitalising on animal to animal genetic variation.


A workshop, commissioned by the New Zealand Government to support the goals and objectives of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), was held in Auckland in May 2011.  Key international researchers met and discussed “a network on animal breeding approaches to reduce methane emissions”.


A key aspect of any approach to breeding sheep and cattle which produce less CH4 is the estimation of the genetic parameters. The workshop identified considerable synergies in combining data sets due to funding constraints, which potentially limit the of national projects. These include the need to standardise protocols for measurement (or at least have robust calibration and conversion equations), common reporting formats and collecting contemporary rumen and DNA samples. 

Two projects that constitute New Zealand’s contribution to stage 2 of the Network, identified from the outcomes and actions signalled by the workshop, are identified.

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