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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Abatement Dairy production Greenhouse gases Mitigation Optimisation 

Supplementary material

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

References

  1. Adler AA, Doole GJ, Romera AJ, Beukes PB (2013) Cost-effective mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in different dairy systems in the Waikato region of New Zealand. J Environ Manage 131:33–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson WJ, Ridler BJ (2010) The effect of increasing per cow production and changing herd structure on economic and environmental outcomes within a farm system using optimal resource allocation. Proc Aust Dairy Sci Symp 4:215–220Google Scholar
  3. Basset-Mens C, Ledgard S, Boyes M (2009) Eco-efficiency of intensification scenarios for milk production in New Zealand. Ecol Econ 68:1615–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beukes PC, Gregorini P, Romera AJ (2010a) Improving production efficiency as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions on pastoral dairy farms in New Zealand. Agric Ecosyst Environ 136:358–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beukes PC, Burke CR, Levy G, Tiddy RM (2010b) Using a whole farm model to determine the impacts of mating management on the profitability of pasture based dairy farms. Anim Reprod Sci 121:46–54PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beukes PC, Gregorini P, Romera AJ (2010c) Estimating greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand dairy systems using a mechanistic whole farm model and inventory methodology. Anim Feed Sci Technol 166:708–720Google Scholar
  7. Brooke A, Kendrick D, Meeraus A, Raman R. (2014) GAMS—A user’s guide. GAMS Development Corporation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. Browne NA, Behrendt R, Kingwell R, Eckard RJ (2014) Does producing more product over a lifetime reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase profitability in dairy and wool enterprises? Anim Prod Sci. doi:10.1071/AN13188 Google Scholar
  9. Christie KM, Rawnsley RP, Eckard RJ (2011) A whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms. Anim Feed Sci Technol 167:653–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christie KM, Gourley CJP, Rawnsley RP, Eckard RJ, Awty IM (2012) Whole-farm systems analysis of Australian dairy farm greenhouse gas emissions. Ani Prod Sci 52:998–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crosson P, Shalloo L, O’Brien D, Lanigan GJ, Foley PA, Boland TM, Kenny DA (2011) A review of whole farm systems models of greenhouse gas emissions from beef and dairy cattle production systems. Anim Feed Sci Technol 166:29–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DairyNZ (2012) Facts and figures for NZ dairy farmers. DairyNZ, HamiltonGoogle Scholar
  13. DairyNZ (2013) DairyNZ economic survey 2011–12. DairyNZ, HamiltonGoogle Scholar
  14. De Angelo BJ, de la Chesnaye FC, Beach RH, Sommer A, Murray BC (2006) Methane and nitrous oxide mitigation in agriculture. Energy J 27:89–108Google Scholar
  15. de Klein CAM, Eckard RJ (2008) Targeted technologies for nitrous oxide abatement from animal agriculture. Aust J Exp Agric 48:14–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Klein CAM, Smith LC, Monaghan RM (2006) ‘Restricted autumn grazing to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from dairy pastures in Southland. N Z Agric Ecosyst Environ 112:192–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. de Klein CAM, Pinares-Patino C, Waghorn GC (2008) Greenhouse gas emissions. In: McDowell RW (ed) Environmental impacts of pasture-based farming. CAB International, Wallingford, pp 1–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dillon P, Roche JR, Shalloo L, Horan B (2005) Optimising financial returns from grazing in temperate pastures. In: Murphy JJ (ed) Utilisation of grazed grass in temperate animal systems. International Grasslands Congress, Cork, pp 131–147Google Scholar
  19. Dillon P, Hennessy T, Shalloo L, Thorne F, Horan B (2008) Future outlook for the Irish dairy industry: a study of international competitiveness, influence of international trade reform and requirement for change. Int J Dairy Technol 61:16–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Doole GJ (2010) Indirect instruments for nonpoint pollution control with multiple, dissimilar agents. J Agric Econ 61:680–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Doole GJ (2012) Cost-effective policies for improving water quality by reducing nitrate emissions from diverse dairy farms: an abatement-cost perspective. Agric Water Manag 104:10–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Doole GJ (2014) Economic feasibility of supplementary feeding on dairy farms in the Waikato region of New Zealand. N Z J Agric Res. doi:10.1080/00288233.2013.870915 Google Scholar
  23. Doole GJ, Pannell DJ (2008) Optimisation of a large, constrained simulation model using compressed annealing. J Agric Econ 59:188–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Doole GJ, Pannell DJ (2012) Empirical evaluation of nonpoint pollution policies under agent heterogeneity: regulating intensive dairy production in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 56:82–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Doole GJ, Paragahawewa U (2011) Profitability of nitrification inhibitors for abatement of nitrate leaching on a representative dairy farm in the Waikato region of New Zealand. Water 3:1031–1049Google Scholar
  26. Doole GJ, Romera AJ (2013) Detailed description of grazing systems using nonlinear optimisation methods: a model of a pasture-based New Zealand dairy farm. Agric Syst 122:33–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Doole GJ, Romera AJ, Adler AA (2013a) An optimisation model of a New Zealand dairy farm. J Dairy Sci 96:2147–2160PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Doole GJ, Vigiak OV, Pannell DJ, Roberts AM (2013b) Cost-effective strategies to mitigate multiple pollutants in an agricultural catchment in North-Central Victoria, Australia. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 57:441–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Durandeau S, Gabrielle B, Godard C, Jayet P, LeBas C (2010) Coupling biophysical and micro-economic models to assess the effect of mitigation measures on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Clim Change 98:51–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Eckard RJ, Grainger C, de Klein CAM (2010) Options for the abatement of methane and nitrous oxide from ruminant production: a review. Livest Sci 130:47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) (2010) Greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy sector: a life cycle assessment. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  32. Howitt RE (1995) Positive mathematical programming. Am J Agric Econ 77:329–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2006) Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. IPCC, KanagawaGoogle Scholar
  34. Jiang, N. (2011) Efficiency analysis of New Zealand dairy farming and the issue of climate change policy. University of Auckland PhD thesis, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  35. Kingwell R (2011) Managing complexity in modern farming. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 55:12–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kuik O, Brander L, Tol RSJ (2009) Marginal abatement costs of greenhouse gas emissions: a meta-analysis. Energy Policy 37:1395–1403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lengers B, Britz W, Holm-Muller K (2013) Comparison of GHG-emission indicators for dairy farms with respect to induced abatement costs, accuracy, and feasibility. Appl Econ Perspect Policy 35:451–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lengers B, Britz W, Holm-Muller K (2014) What drives marginal abatement costs of greenhouse gases on dairy farms? A meta-modelling approach. J Agric Econ. doi:10.1111/1477-9552.12057 Google Scholar
  39. Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) (2013) New Zealand dairy statistics 2012/13. LIC, HamiltonGoogle Scholar
  40. Lovett DK, Shalloo L, Dillon P, O’Mara FP (2008) Greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral based dairy systems: the effect of uncertainty and management change under two contrasting production systems. Livest Sci 116:260–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Macdonald KA, Penno JW, Lancaster JAS, Roche JR (2008) Effect of stocking rate on pasture production, milk production, and reproduction of dairy cows in pasture-based systems. J Dairy Sci 91:2151–2163PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Macdonald KA, Williams Y, Dobson-Hill B (2010) Effectiveness of a nitrification inhibitor (DCn) on a coastal Taranaki dairy farm. Proc N Z Grassl Assoc 72:147–152Google Scholar
  43. Ministry for the Environment (MfE) (2010) New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2008: an overview. MfE, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  44. Ministry for the Environment (MfE) (2013) New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2011. MfE, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  45. Moran D, Macleod M, Wall E, Eory V, McVittie A, Barnes A, Rees R, Topp CFE, Moxey A (2011) Marginal abatement cost curves for UK agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. J Agric Econ 62:93–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Newman M (2012) DairyBase—benchmarking dairy farm performance. DairyNZ, HamiltonGoogle Scholar
  47. O’Brien D, Shalloo L, Grainger C, Buckley F, Horan B, Wallace M (2010) The influence of strain of Holstein-Friesian cow and feeding system on greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral dairy farms. J Dairy Sci 93:3390–3402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. O’Brien D, Shalloo L, Patton F, Buckley M, Grainger C, Wallace M (2012) A life cycle assessment of seasonal grass-based and confinement dairy farms. Agric Syst 107:33–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pannell DJ (1997) Introduction to practical linear programming. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. Schils RLM, Verhagen A, Aarts HFM, Sebek LBJ (2005) A farm level approach to define successful mitigation strategies for GHG emissions from ruminant livestock systems. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 71:163–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Smeaton D, Cox T, Kerr S, Dynes R (2011) Relationships between farm productivity, profitability. N leaching and GHG emissions: a modelling approach. Proc N Z Grassl Assoc 73:57–62Google Scholar
  52. Smith LC, de Klein CAM, Monaghan RM, Catto WD (2008) The effectiveness of DCD in reducing nitrous oxide emissions from a cattle grazed winter forage crop in Southland, New Zealand. Aust J Exp Agric 48:160–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thamo T, Kingwell R, Pannell DJ (2013) Measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture: economic implications for policy and agricultural producers. Aust J Agric Resour Econ 57:234–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. van den Bergh JCJM, Kallis G (2013) A survey of evolutionary policy: normative and positive dimensions. J Bioecon 15:281–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vermont B, De Cara S (2010) How costly is mitigation of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture? A meta-analysis. Ecol Econ 69:1373–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vibart R, White T, Smeaton D, Dennis S, Dynes R (2012) Efficiencies, productivity, nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand dairy farms identified as high production, low emission systems. In: Currie LD, Christensen CL (eds) Advanced nutrient management: gains from the past-goals for the future. Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, pp 1–11Google Scholar
  57. Winiwarter W, Höglund-Isaksson L, Schöpp W, Tohka A, Wagner F, Amann M (2010) Emission mitigation potentials and costs for non-CO2 greenhouse gases in Annex-I countries according to the GAINS model. J Integr Environ Sci 7:235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zhang B, Tillman R (2007) A decision tree approach to modelling nitrogen fertiliser use efficiency in New Zealand pastures. Plant Soil 301:267–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations