Wednesday, 18 December 2013

FAO Report

Post written by C. Will

New Zealand (NZ) has relatively low emissions per unit of dairy production. So can NZ farmers share the skills and technologies that allow such low emissions to help lower global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) released a report in 2010 that looked into GHG emissions from the global dairy sector. Although the report is from 2010, it has some interesting findings worth discussing. In particular, a comparison of GHG emissions per kg of Fat and Protein Corrected Milk (FPCM) across different regions (see graph below).

Source: Gerber, P., Vellinga, T., Opio, C., Henderson, B., & Steinfeld, H. (2010). Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Dairy Sector, A Life Cycle Assessment. FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Animal Production and Health Division, Rome. Page 34.

FPCM is a way of comparing milk produced from different dairy animals on a common basis by equating the level of fat and protein in the milk. The graph highlights where milk production is the most GHG emissions intensive and therefore the least efficient. There is a clear trend showing developing regions (Africa and Asia) having higher emissions than more industrialized regions (Europe and North America). 

We have been told that NZ emissions are even lower than the rest of Oceania; approximately 0.9 per kg of FPCM. This gives an idea how efficient NZ farming is and supports a comment in a previous blog that touched on the difference in efficiency between NZ farmers and farming in Africa. 

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