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  • Writer's pictureThe Poplars Farm

AgResearch & GHG Emissions

The quest for future proofing our industry continues! The @AgResearch Invermay PAC (portable accumulation chamber) trailer has been and gone this past week with the goal of measuring the methane emissions (aka sheep burps) of our recorded ram and ewe hoggets.

As methane is the largest single contributor to greenhouse gases (GHG) produced in NZ, and is a significant contributor internationally to global warming, we feel that we need to play a part in securing the future for the next generations.

The PAC trailer seeks to gather data on each individual sire by measuring a sample of their progeny. By completing this analysis over multiple SIL recorded breeding flocks, and especially on flocks who have shared sires, we can start to identify trends and develop a breeding value. The sheep, in groups of 12 spend 50 minutes in individual sealed chambers with their gas outputs being analyzed. Surprisingly they are quite relaxed in their chambers and some are a bit hesitant to leave when their time is up!

The hoggets tested will also acquire a breeding value, but with any BV, confidence can only be gained by recording their progeny’s performance i.e. this will be a long game. Our goal is to identify sheep that have lower GHG emissions while continuing to improve on production efficiencies.

We want to be able to breed a sheep that can wean their weight in lambs to send to the works earlier (meaning less time eating grass and producing emissions) while also having our breeding flock maintain a lower level of methane emissions over their lifetimes. It's all about efficiencies.

Huge thank you to the amazing AgResearch Invermay team!!

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