The Effects of System Changes in Grazed Dairy Farmlet Trials on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Animals : an Open Access Journal From MDPI
Tony van der WeerdenRobyn Dynes


An important challenge facing the New Zealand (NZ) dairy industry is development of production systems that can maintain or increase production and profitability, while reducing impacts on receiving environments including water and air. Using research 'farmlets' in Waikato, Canterbury, and Otago (32⁻200 animals per herd), we assessed if system changes aimed at reducing nitrate leaching can also reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (methane and nitrous oxide) and emissions intensity (kg GHG per unit of product) by comparing current and potential 'improved' dairy systems. Annual average GHG emissions for each system were estimated for three or four years using calculations based on the New Zealand Agricultural Inventory Methodology, but included key farmlet-specific emission factors determined from regional experiments. Total annual GHG footprints ranged between 10,800 kg and 20,600 kg CO₂e/ha, with emissions strongly related to the amount of feed eaten. Methane (CH₄) represented 75% to 84% of the total GHG footprint across all modelled systems, with enteric CH₄ from lactating cows grazing pasture being the major source. Excreta deposition onto paddocks was the largest source of nitrous oxide (N₂O) emissions, representing ...Continue Reading


Feb 3, 2011·Journal of Environmental Quality·Jouke OenemaHein ten Berge
Oct 22, 2013·Journal of Environmental Management·Alfredo A AdlerPierre C Beukes
Feb 26, 2016·Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture·Seth LaurensonPierre C Beukes
Jun 12, 2017·Journal of Dairy Science·H A Aguirre-VillegasR Larson

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Dec 22, 2019·Animals : an Open Access Journal From MDPI·Pierre BeukesRobyn Dynes

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