A new tool is set to give Fonterra farmers unique greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions profiles for their farms.
The tool will help farmers identify which areas of their farm are responsible for producing the most greenhouse gases, which will help them make improvements to reduce those emissions.
The profiles provide indicators such as the estimated level of biological methane and nitrous oxide emissions per hectare, and the amount of emissions per kilogram of milk solids.
The profiles form part of a Farm Environmental Report, which combines a GHC report and a nitrogen risk scorecard.
Charlotte Rutherford, Fonterra's director of on-farm excellence, says it's important for farmers to know exactly where their emissions come from if they are to make improvements.
"New Zealand milk is already among the most sustainably produced in the world, but with increasing customer and consumer motivation linked to climate change, we need to ensure we're continuing to position ourselves for the future – from both a regulatory and market perspective," Rutherford said.
She said farmers have been receiving the profiles over the past few days.
South Wairarapa farmer Aidan Bichan, who runs a 900 cow dairy farm near Featherston, is one of around 100 farmers who took part in the original pilot programme in 2018.
He said the emissions profile had prompted his team to make a number of practical changes, including halving the amount of nitrogen fertiliser applied on farm.
"It hasn't really impacted production because we're getting more efficient use of that nitrogen. We've changed the timing and the rate of application, and we're a lot more careful about how we use it."
Fonterra said it's the first time such a tool had been introduced at scale in the country.