Consultation is under way to work out how (and how much) farmers will pay for their biological greenhouse gas emissions, including the release of methane from their animals, and nitrous oxide from nitrogen fertiliser.
The government is planning to introduce a pricing system by 2025, with sector groups urging farmers to start preparing for the change now.
AgFirst Agribusiness and Environmental Consultant Erica van Reenen outlines four things farmers should know:
He Waka Eke Noa – the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership, which includes industry, Māori and Government - are still working out how to measure and price agricultural emissions.
That doesn’t stop farmers taking action now by starting to measure their emissions.
There are different tools available to do this, each with a slightly different approach.
Until He Waka Eke Noa settles on one of these tools for pricing, farmers should pick one and stick with it.
“There are about nine tools that are being fairly widely used – some are free, some you pay for,” says Erica van Reenen, Agribusiness and Environmental Consultant at AgFirst.
“Whichever you choose, just make sure you use the same tool, so at least you are using the same process and can track it over time.”
WHAT DRIVES YOUR EMISSIONS
Using the emissions tools, farmers will quickly start to understand what is driving emissions on their farm.
The amount of dry matter consumed by stock, the amount of protein in their diet and the amount of nitrogen fertiliser they use are the three key drivers.
“The greater amount of feed that is eaten, the greater the methane emissions and the higher the nitrogen content of the feed we are giving our stock, generally the higher the nitrous oxide emissions,” says van Reenen.
“Understanding what drives your feed curve, and how you manage that, will help you understand what you can alter to reduce emissions.”