Thursday, 25 March 2021

Two million tonnes of greenhouse gases up for grabs with minimal production hit


Ravensdown’s recommendations to the Climate Change Commission focus on three specific solutions that can save two million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year with minimal impact on agsector production.

The farmer-owned co-operative’s submission sent yesterday points out the potential savings of using inhibitors that reduce the amount of nitrous oxide being emitted and lost from granulated nitrogen fertiliser and livestock urine.

“Proven urease inhibitors are available for use at scale across New Zealand. Nitrification inhibitors have shown promise in the past and should also be pursued for the future. For both, we’re asking that the Commission looks into how obstacles to adoption can be overcome,” said Mike Manning, General Manager Innovation and Strategy at the co-operative.

“We agree with the Commission that agsector productivity is key – especially when the country is facing such debt and economic uncertainty. At the same time, we believe in smarter farming, in New Zealand’s ambition to hit its climate goals and in the need for practical, scalable innovations to do so,” added Mike.

“An example of this innovation is the developments in precision technology that lead to more accurate application of nutrients.”

“Mapping systems exist for farmers and growers to keep data-rich and auditable application records and this helps with decision making as well as compliance,” added Mike Manning.

Another technology is showing exciting potential according to Mike, but further research work is needed. “The emerging concept is that farmers could aerially assess their vegetation through remote sensing.”

“As a farmer-owned co-operative specialising in farm nutrient and environmental expertise, we are both influenced by and in a position to influence the outcomes sought by the Commission.

“As carbon efficient as our farmers and growers are, there’s always a smarter way. They have the chance to teach the world how to solve the conundrum of carbon efficient and sustainable food production at large scale. It’s vital that this challenge is met by the sector right here, not just shipped offshore because of ill-considered policy settings.”