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 Welcome to PGgRc

Welcome to the PGgRc, We hope you find our site useful in providing insights into New Zealands efforts to reduce the Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The PGgRc research programme aims to provide New Zealand livestock farmers with the knowledge and tools to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector.

New Zealand is a signatory to the Kyoto treaty on Climate change and has commitments to reduce its overall GHG emissions to the level they were in 1990. Agriculture is a major contributor to New Zealand's economy and also responsible for 48.5% of the nations GHG emissions. The PGgRc is a commitment by the pastoral sector to address these emissions while ensuring that our nations economic wealth is enhanced.

The image on the right is a electron micrograph of a string of methanogens inside the rumen - the organism responsible for producing methane in ruminant livestock such as cattle, sheep and deer.


 Five year science progress report
The consortium has released its second 5 year review of the PGgRc investment covering the period from 2007 to 2012. As with the first review, published in 2007, we have produced this booklet as a reference publication, to summarise a number of key research activities undertaken by the PGgRc. It sets out who the Consortium represents, what research it has invested in to develop methods for New Zealand farmers to reduce livestock GHG emissions and identifies some of our major achievements along with plans for the future.
 Agricultural GHG Research Receives Boost through PGgRc
The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) has secured funding from the agriculture sector and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to continue research to find tools for mitigating greenhouse gases.

Industry partners have committed $2.3 million and this will be matched by government through MBIEís Partnership fund over the next seven years. The research work will be lead by AgResearch along with other national and international groups.

PGgRc Consortium Manager, Mark Aspin said a new programme of activity is planned that will build on the knowledge already gained from investments in recent years. New Zealand is at the forefront of this challenging science frontier being worked on globally, and has previously delivered new knowledge such as sequencing the first rumen methanogen genome, developing a low emission sheep flock and finding feeds that can reduce methane emissions.

The new work aims to develop a suite of ready-made tools that will reduce agricultural greenhouse gases by 30 per cent by 2030 while supporting the agricultural industry's growth targets of two per cent each year.

Together with the funds contributed from consortium partner AgResearch, the annual research investment of $5.4m will specifically focus on:
  • Refining animal breeding tools for low emission livestock
  • Identifying more low greenhouse gas feeds
  • Identifying inhibitors that reduce ruminant emissions
  • Developing a vaccine to reduce ruminant emissions
  • Understanding the productivity effects and enhancing the adoption of mitigations
The refreshed research programme, while recognising the long term commitment required, will be strongly focused on delivery of mitigation solutions, developed through an increased partnership between the consortium and the New Zealand Agricultural Research Centre (NZAGRC). Both of these organisations will coordinate their operations to ensure rapid delivery of effective options for farmers.

Agriculture plays a critical role in the New Zealand economy and unless technical solutions are found to reduce agricultural emissions, there may be significant ETS liabilities in the future, Mr Aspin said.

We're completely focused on developing technologies that are practical and can be readily adopted by farmers.

For more information please contact:
Consortium Manager: Mark Aspin Ph 0272483509

 PGgRc Complete Methanogen Genome Sequencing

The announcement  of the completion of the first rumen methanogen genomic sequence marks an important milestone for the PGGRC. Since its inception in 2002 the Consortium has had a programme looking at developing a fundamental understanding of the organisms responsible for the production of methane from ruminant Livestock. Although other methanogens have previously been sequenced, Methanobrevibacter Ruminantium is the first from the rumen to have its "parts list" or genome identified. The consortium has had and will continue to have a programme of work that will utilise this knowledge in developing cost effective mitigation solutions for livestock.

The full media release regarding this anouncement can be found in our News while background to the genomic programme of research can be found in our five year review booklet published in November 2007.



PGgRc Newsletter #1

Thu, 11 Mar 2010 03:34:19 -0800

This is our first newsletter.We intend to send them out periodically, communicating to our stakeholders what our programme is about and what progress has been made. We hope you find this a quick read,
informative and useful in identifying what New Zealand farmers are doing to make themselves
more competitive in the emerging carbon conscious world.

Feel free to follow up on any enquires by contacting us.

Mark Aspin – Consortium Manager

PGgRc genetic breakthrough may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Thu, 28 Jan 2010 23:08:37 -0800


Cows, sheep and other ruminant animals produce their methane emissions because of microbes that live in their digestive systems, and the PGgRc funded team has successfully mapped the genetic information of one of the microbes responsible. This discovery will accelerate work altering the methane generation of the organism through vaccine and pharmo-medical interventions.The findings have been published today in noted science journal PLOS One and this makes this ground-breaking research available to the wider scientific community.

New Zealand leads world breakthrough in methane research

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 05:00:34 -0700

In a world first, New Zealand scientists have mapped the genetic sequence of a microbe, which produces methane from the rumen of cattle and sheep. 
With this understanding, the team of Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium scientists are now looking at ways of reducing the amount of methane farm animals produce – which in New Zealand accounts for 32 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

PGgRc seeking new opportunities

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 12:00:00 -0700

PGgRc has the science to establish if a mitigation solution will work. We want to work with any parties who believe that they have the evidence for a solution.