News from NZAGRC & PGgRc: September 2015 
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Kia ora from the end of the rainbow...

Whilst some of our international readers may have enjoyed a hotter than average summer, the winter here in the Manawatu was fairly wet (would you agree, farming friends?).

But every cloud has its silver lining and one wet afternoon our resident photographer managed to catch this fleeting shot of a rainbow seemingly ending at the NZAGRC.

Make of this what you will. Perhaps our goal to develop tools and practices that reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint will turn out to be a metaphorical pot of gold for the NZ agricultural sector?
In this edition:

The Road to Paris: Preparing for COP21

With the release of New Zealand's INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – to a global agreement on climate change, that is), it's timely to consider how this will affect the industry leading up to and post the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris in December 2015.

We have prepared a short overview on New Zealand's INDC for Paris and the NZAGRC-PGgRc's involvement in helping New Zealand meet its commitments. Click here to see the overview...

How the NZAGRC-PGgRc science fits into the whole picture

The NZAGRC and PGgRc science programme does not work in isolation. It is important science is undertaken with a whole picture view. Through our factsheet series "Reducing New Zealand's agricultural greenhouse gases", we are providing overview information across our areas of research.
In collaboration with the University of Waikato, Landcare Resesearch and Plant and Food Research, the NZAGRC-PGgRc has produced an whole picture view of New Zealand soil carbon.   

The factsheet, available in print and online, overviews everything from why soil carbon matters for climate change and what soils types make up New Zealand through to how soil carbon is treated in New Zealand's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory and what the current options for increasing carbon in soils are. Showing the progress that New Zealand is making in understanding carbon changes in soil and how farmers can increase their carbon storage is an important piece in the reducing New Zealand's agricultural greenhouse gases puzzle. Download the factsheet now
In collaboration with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the NZAGRC-PGgRc is producing an overview factsheet of how New Zealand farms can increase their efficiency to lower their GHG emissions intensity even further.  We expect this to be available in October 2015.

As a lead into this comprehensive factsheet, we have produced an overview of the NZAGRC-PGgRc integrated farm systems programme that is available online now

Factsheets in print
We have hard copies of all our factsheets available.  If you would one - or some - please email us.

Factsheets at events
In June, Louis Schipper (University of Waikato) gathered a box of each factsheet and passed them out all over National Fielddays at Mystery Creek.  If you would like to do the same, just email us.These factsheets are useful for open days, workshops and conference where you may be asked the age-old questions: what are we doing to contribute to climate change solutions, how do we know what we are measuring, what are we measuring, what is soil carbon, what can farmers do now. 

New topics
If you think there is a topic that should be covered relating to "Reducing New Zealand's agricultural greenhouse gas emissions" please email us.


Each newsletter we post a couple of short profiles on our researchers and students. Today, we introduce Dr Suzanne Rowe and tell you about some cool little cake creations in WaiBER.

Dr Suzanne Rowe, co-leader of the NZAGRC-PGgRc programme to breed low methane ruminants, has always been passionate about farming. Originally from Devon, in the UK, she grew up in the city and left home at 16 to work on a horse breeding stud. Suzanne then moved on to milking cows. Then, after hand milking cows in Africa, completing her PhD in quantitative genetics and a postdoc, Suzanne moved to New Zealand. 

Read more about Suzanne's adventures and what she likes about New Zealand...

Soil and pasture research that is sweet enough to eat

Scientific knowledge is usually communicated through text, diagrams and graphs, but the Waikato Biogeochemistry and Ecohydrology Research group (WaiBER) offers an alternative means of communication – via the medium of cake.   Once a paper is accepted, group members are encouraged to make a research cake that summarises the paper to enjoy and celebrate with their colleagues. Here are two cake creations that we are
 proud to have helped create (through science funding - not funding of cake ingredients!).
Sam McNally's (PhD candidate) cake celebrates the acceptance of his first research paper in the journal Plant and Soil. Sam is supervised by Professor Louis Schipper at the University of Waikato.

Read more about Sam's cake...

S.R McNally, D.C Laughlin, S. Rutledge, M.B. Dodd, J. Six, L.A. Schipper, 2015. Root carbon inputs under moderately diverse sward and conventional ryegrass-clover pasture: implications for soil carbon sequestration. Plant and Soil, 392, 289-299
Dr Susanna Rutledge's cake celebrates the publication of a paper in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment that looked at the carbon balance of a dairy grazed pasture at Scott Farm over four years. 

Read more about Susanna's cake...

S. Rutledge, P.L. Mudge, D.I. Campbell, S.L. Woodward, J.P. Goodrich, A. M. Wall,  M.U.F. Kirschbaum, L.A. Schipper, 2015. Carbon balance of an intensively grazed temperate dairy pasture over four years. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 206, 10-20 

News from international work programme

New Zealand maintains an active role in the Global Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases (GRA). NZAGRC facilitates leadership in livestock emissions research and training in emissions measurement throughout the world.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition project
Phase 1 of the project has recently started. The first set of regional workshops have been held in South America, South Asia and sub Saharan Africa to harness the expertise of the policy, industry and science sectors and farmer organisations, to clarify key regional production systems, identify interventions that are already available or near to market, constraints which affect the uptake of such interventions, and the economic costs or benefits to farmers.  The next step for each region is to collect baseline data on key production systems and model the emissions reductions and productivity gains that could be achieved through intervention using FAO’s Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM).

For the project background and workplan see previous NZAGRC-PGgRc newsletter. Updates will be provided in future newsletters.

For more information on the project, please email the Project Coordinator.

Review of awards programme
There is an review of the LEARN and GRASS awards programme underway. Currently, there are four awards available:
  • LEARN Co-funded PhD
  • LEARN Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • LEARN Technician's Training
  • GRASS Award
If you have any feedback of thoughts on how the awards programme could be made more suitable for your, your organisation and/or your international contacts, please email us.

For more information the awards and their current eligibility criteria, visit The next round of applications closes 31 October 2015.

Recent publications you need to read

Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp.

New Zealand’s post-2020 climate change target

Presentations from New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Conference 2015

Presentations from Nitrogen Efficiency Workshop 2015

Update on release of NZAGRC annual science highlights document
Annual report submission to MPI: 31 August
Highlights 2015 drafted: 30 September
Highlights 2015 available in print: 31 October

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