Fonterra partners with Royal DSM to lower on-farm greenhouse gas emissions

The dairy co-op is introducing a feed additive which it hopes will reduce methane emissions by at least 30%

Dairy business Fonterra is working with science-based company Royal DSM to reduce its members’ on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Owned by over 10,000 farmers, Fonterra hopes the project will reduce the emissions produced by dairy cows and their manure, which contribute to climate change.

The New Zealand co-op will be using DSM’s feed additive product Bovaer®, which is said to reduce methane emissions from cows by over 30% in non-pasture-based farming systems.

In 2015, the global dairy industry’s emissions were equivalent to more than 1,700 million tonnes of CO2, 3.4% of the world’s total. A recent study by AgResearch found that New Zealand dairy farmers have the world’s lowest carbon footprint. However, Fonterra plans to reduce its emissions by addressing the methane challenge.

Fonterra group director for farm source Richard Allen said: “We need to find a breakthrough in reducing emissions from cows and Bovaer® could provide exactly that. This work with DSM is an exciting opportunity for the co-op.”

Fonterra chief science & technology officer, Prof Jeremy Hill, said the Co-op wanted to explore and validate how Bovaer® could work in New Zealand, where cows are predominantly fed grass.

He said: “We also see this as an opportunity to further accelerate our global leadership in low-carbon dairy products to create more value for our New Zealand milk.

“Fonterra is working closely with DSM New Zealand to ensure that any innovation is well tested and can easily be distributed and used by our farmers.”

Mark van Nieuwland, global programme head for DSM Nutritional Products, added: “Both companies have worked together for many years, and it’s a pleasure to extend this to the field of sustainability and climate change. With Fonterra, we have an important partner to potentially commercialise Bovaer® in New Zealand and globally. We look forward to combining our expertise and passion.”