NZ farm takes leap towards greener future: Pioneering methane reduction in dairy industry

NZ farm takes leap towards greener future: Pioneering methane reduction in dairy industry

6 June 2023 8:30AM

Craigmore Sustainables is trialling a breakthrough technology, developed by Ravensdown and Lincoln University, which aims to reduce methane emissions in a first for the New Zealand dairy industry.

Their four-hundred-hectare dairy farm in Oxford, North Canterbury is the first commercial dairy farm to adopt EcoPond in Aotearoa, a technology that virtually removes all methane emitted from effluent ponds with an additive typically used in the treatment of drinking water.

Craigmore's General Manager for Farming Stuart Taylor told REX hosts Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay that eliminating methane emissions will significantly impact the future of environmentally sustainable farming.

"On that farm, it's about 8% of our total greenhouse gas effect per year," he said.

While it's not a straightforward process, Taylor is hopeful that the more the technology is taken on board and developed, the more affordable and accessible it will be for farmers across the country.

"It's like any new technology, as more people use it, it gets better and the cost of that device reduces over time per unit.

"Yes, it can be used across most New Zealand farms….it depends on the effluent irrigation systems, you might have to make some adaptions to remove the solids before the treatment occurs."

He hopes that by taking the initiative to trial this new technology, Craigmore's will pave the way for a more environmentally friendly farming future in Aotearoa.

"We try and be the first to adapt on a commercial scale to help out the innovation and make it cost-effective for other farmers throughout New Zealand."

Taylor understands not every farm will be able to invest in something so new, but encourages those who can afford to pave the way, to take that first step.

"It's about those early adapters getting hold of Ravensdown, working with their local Dairy NZ guys to then share that with their local farmers and that's how we make change.

"That's kind of what we've always done as dairy farmers, someone has a go, we watch that person over the fence and if it's successful the other farmers pick that up and carry it, that's what we've always done."

Greaves and McKay went on to talk about how winter is looking for farmers and what it's like dealing with a cost of living crisis in rural New Zealand with Craigmore General Manager for Farming Stuart Taylor.