World's top climate scientists deliver warning for Kiwi farmers

Some of the world's premier climate change thinkers are in Christchurch with a serious warning for Kiwi farmers.

Over 100 experts are preparing a report on agriculture and its effects for governments around the world - and Professor Tim Benton from the University of Leeds warned that farmers are "putting a lot of [their] eggs in a single basket".

The globe-trotting Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has New Zealand on their radar. With increased dairy farming, we are one the world's worst agricultural emitters.

"Globally, agriculture makes around 10 to 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions," said Andy Reisinger of the NZ Agricultural Greenouse Gas Research Centre.

"In New Zealand it's almost 50 percent, and that simply reflects that livestock is a really core part of New Zealand's economy."

Sheep and cattle have been identified as one of the leading causes of climate change, producing methane gas.

Dr Anita Wreford from Lincoln University says there'll always be a place for dairy production in New Zealand, but changes have to be made.

"We've got a strong history in that area, but I do think that the scale it's reaching at the moment is probably not going to be suitable in the future," she explained.

As well as the risks, the report will identify ways to fight back using the latest technology.

"If we can find technological ways to manage the emissions from the livestock sector, there's still a lot of space for doing it well," says Professor Benton.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw is confident New Zealand will find a way to farm without emissions.

"We will be able to get to a position where we can grow and develop food produce in a way that's environmentally friendly and high value."