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Latest News / Features

Latest News / Features


Climate change – whether or not you are a believer - is a global issue that is now in our boot room and isn’t going away. In accordance with Aotearoa’s international commitment under the Paris Agreement, we have now committed to halving our current net greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030. To help meet this target, our primary industry will be required to measure and manage their Greenhouse Gas emissions or be introduced into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  This eventuality is non-negotiable, however, how this plays out is currently in our hands and it is in our best interests as a farming collective to be proactive in engaging with this process so that we can enter into a GHG scheme on our terms.


A five-year partnership has been formed - He Waka Eke Noa - between the government, Iwi and primary industry to address agricultural emissions.  This partnership is creating a framework in which agriculture, horticulture and arable farms will account for their emissions, however, in order for the government to accept this framework and a suggested pricing mechanism, the partnership must meet several milestones.  If the milestones are not met, then the government has the ability to enter primary industry into the ETS on their terms (prior to 2025) where individual farm mitigations aren’t taken into account, and an ETS payment is made at the processor level when you sell your livestock or milk.


Milestones that must be met:


31 December 2021          

25% of farms must “know their number”. What this means is that these farms must hold a documented annual total of on-farm GHG emissions.
This target has already been reached thanks to our dairy industry. 91% of our dairy farmers have received a GHG report.  And as it stands, 59% of our farmers know their number.


1 January 2022                 

25% of farms must have a written plan in place to measure & manage their GHG emissions.
Approximately 23% of our farmers have GHGs included in their farm plans, so we are almost there.


31 December 2022          

100% of farms must “know their number”


1 January 2025                 

100% of farms must have a written plan in place to monitor & manage their GHG emissions 


Who needs to do this:

The current definition of a farm for this purpose is:
- all farms over 80ha (includes pastoral, horticultural, arable), and
- all dairy herds with a dairy supply number, and
- all feedlots


This captures around 25,000 farms.  It is important to note that this is not a final definition of a farm. For the purposes of pricing agricultural emissions, properties that are outside of this current definition may still be included in the scheme.


How do you calculate “your number”:

There are 10 assessed GHG calculators available; Farmax, Overseer, Beef + Lamb NZ GHG Calculator, Fonterra/AIM, Hort NZ, Foundation for Arable Research, Ministry for the Environment (MfE), Alltech, E2M and Toitū.  These systems are varied in their complexity & level of detail, and which one you use will depend on what part of the industry you are in.

These models require data to be entered relating to livestock numbers and movements, fertiliser use, cropping practices and vegetation areas able to be offset to mitigate your GHG outputs.


We must ensure He Waka Eke Noa partnership is successful in ensuring NZ farming isn’t forced into the ETS at a processor level.  Being able to account for your emission mitigations (including sequestration that doesn’t currently qualify for the NZETS) at a farm level will help to reduce the cost to your farm business.  In addition, the Partnership is recommending that revenue generated from GHG pricing is recycled back into R&D in the agricultural sector which will further help to reduce GHG emissions.


Whilst this may all seem very overwhelming, don’t forget we are all in the same waka.  You are surrounded by an advisory team that can help you; Dairy NZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Horticulture NZ, FAR, your bankers, consultants and accountants.  We are all on-hand to assist you with getting your head around the requirements.