Wednesday, 6 November 2013

New Motu Working Paper Shows Significant Potential for Better Farm Management Practices to Improve Environmental Outcomes

Post written by H. Griffin.

This new working paper looks at differences in management practices of New Zealand dairy farms and the mitigation of nitrogen leaching and greenhouse gas emissions. Research on this topic in New Zealand to date has relied on simulation modelling and has been limited by the fact that different farms have generally been treated as homogenous. In reality, farms vary greatly – looking at this heterogeneity gives a better idea of the potential for better environmental outcomes through more efficient farm management practices.

Using data on 264 New Zealand dairy farms, the paper estimates the extent to which farm management and farmer skill could potentially reduce farms’ greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen leaching per unit of production. It suggests that significant feasible, relatively low-cost mitigation could be effected by less efficient farmers moving towards existing best practice, potentially reducing nitrogen leaching by more than 30 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent. The potential for such mitigation varies considerably across farms.

Check out the new paper here.

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