Meat & Livestock News

Climate Change Commission Criticised for Overlooking Farm Realities

TL;DR: The Climate Change Commission is criticised for ignoring farming realities and not adapting its emissions reduction strategy to practical agricultural conditions and economic impacts.

Farming Realities Overlooked

The Climate Change Commission is facing criticism for ignoring the practical realities of farming and recent government policies. Federated Farmers president, Wayne Langford, highlighted that the Commission’s latest emissions advice lacks economic modelling and fails to consider the sector’s implications.

Lack of Adaptation Noted

Langford expressed disappointment over the Commission’s static approach. “It’s disappointing they haven’t adapted or evolved,” he remarked.

Certainty Needed

Agricultural businesses seek certainty, which Langford believes the report does not provide.

Disagreements on Stocking Rates

Nick Robinson, DairyNZ’s manager of corporate affairs, disagrees with the Commission’s assumption. The assumption suggests farmers could cut stocking rates by 23% while maintaining milk production. “We plan to meet with the commission to understand their models and assumptions,” Robinson stated.

Productivity Concerns

Robinson referenced advice from the AgriBusiness Group. It highlighted difficulties in enhancing productivity with significant reductions in stocking rates.

Commission’s Proposals

The Commission’s report suggests that lowering stocking rates and fertiliser use could reduce emissions and enhance animal performance. It projects a 23% reduction in dairy stocking rates and a 12% reduction for sheep and beef by 2050.

Potential Impact on Production

According to the Commission, these changes would decrease methane emissions without affecting dairy production due to increased efficiency. However, sheep and beef production could see a 17% decline by 2050 due to ongoing land use changes.

Independent Review Considered

Dr Hinrich Schaefer, an atmospheric scientist, noted that the independent review of methane targets might prompt a reassessment of the Commission’s reduction targets. He suggests that adjustments might be necessary to balance emissions more effectively across different sectors.