Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 98, Issue 2, pp 235–251 | Cite as

Least-cost greenhouse gas mitigation on New Zealand dairy farms

Original Article


A whole-farm model is used to assess least-cost methods of mitigating GHG-e from dairy farms of different production intensity across five diverse regions of New Zealand. Mitigation costs can be significant, with reductions in operating profit ranging between 2–8, 8–30, and 13–67 % for GHG-e reductions of 10, 20, and 30 %, respectively. Farms that lose proportionally less profit from mitigation are more-intensive farms characterised by higher stocking rates, nitrogen fertiliser application, and supplement feeding. This highlights the cost-effectiveness of de-intensification strategies (those associated with reducing input use) therein. All farms reduce stocking rate, decrease nitrogen fertiliser application, reduce supplement use, and improve reproductive management to meet GHG-e goals. In contrast, the adoption of loafing pads is highly uneconomic. Overall, this study highlights the importance of considering heterogeneity among farms when evaluating abatement activities.


Abatement Dairy production Greenhouse gases Mitigation Optimisation 



This work was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.

Supplementary material

10705_2014_9608_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Centre for Environmental Economics and PolicyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Waikato Management SchoolUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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