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Media release: GHG numbers

March 28, 2021

Measuring, managing, and reducing agricultural greenhouse gases and being recognised for maintaining and increasing sequestration is getting easier for our farmers.

Farm Planning Guidance for Greenhouse Gases, and a report on the current tools and calculators that can be used, is now available.


He Waka Eke Noa: The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership has developed two information sources to help industry bodies and farmers understand their agricultural greenhouse gas emissions: Greenhouse Gases: Farm Planning Guidance, and The Greenhouse Gases Model Assessment Report.

Knowing a farm’s nitrous oxide and methane numbers is the first step towards managing, and knowing how to reduce, on-farm emissions.

“The message is, know your numbers and have a plan,” says Kelly Forster, Programme Director for He Waka Eke Noa: The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership.

By the end of 2022, all farms in Aotearoa New Zealand need to know their greenhouse gas numbers.

“There are now a range of tools that have been assessed as suitable for calculating a farm’s biological greenhouse gases, and more are in development and will be assessed soon,” says Kelly. “Measurement is key. Our farmers understanding their numbers means they are in a position to decide how to make changes to their farming practices to mitigate or reduce emissions.

“Every farm is different, and not every farmer is expected to reduce their operation’s emissions. However, the choices each farmer makes to optimise their operation will have a collective impact on Aotearoa’s climate change efforts.

“Our farmers and growers are known as world leaders, innovators, and producers of premium products and can also lead the way globally in managing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.”

Farms need to know their numbers by the end of 2022 if they are 80ha or more, or have a dairy supply number, or are a cattle feedlot as defined in freshwater policy.

Since December last year when the first Greenhouse Gases: Farm Planning Guidance was released, industry bodies have been incorporating information relevant to their levy payers into their Farm Environment Plans.

The guidance sets out basic principles to guide farmers, growers, and advisors, with practical information on opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to capture carbon.

Sequestration is one of the most important pillars that the He Waka Eke Noa partners are working through this year. The Partnership is developing recommendations for an appropriate farm level emissions pricing system, which includes recognition and measurement of on-farm sequestration. The pricing system needs to be recommended to Ministers next year, and be functioning in 2025.

Seven different greenhouse gas calculation methods have been assessed and classified so far:HortNZ, MfE, Alltech, E2M, Fonterra/AIM, Farmax and Overseer.

Other tools are in development and will be assessed and added to the list.

“All farmers knowing their numbers by December 2022 is an ambitious target,” says Kelly. “He Waka Eke Noa’s partners are committed to supporting their farmers. This includes development of new calculators to support farmers across sectors to know their GHG footprint and how to reduce it, well before our pricing system is ready to kick in.”

Farmers wanting advice are encouraged to talk to their industry representative, supply company, or other trusted advisors, about knowing their numbers and incorporating GHG into Farm Environment Plans.


Tools and calculators’ summary: Tools and calculators | He Waka Eke Noa

Farm Planning Guidance:


Get this release in pdf


Notes for editors


About He Waka Eke Noa

He Waka Eke Noa – the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership – is the primary sector, Māori and Government working together on climate change and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Working with farmers and growers, the partnership is committed to achieving a solution that is practical for the primary sector, rewards efforts to reduce emissions and increase sequestration, and supports the sector’s future success.

By 2025 the partnership will develop and implement a framework to empower farmers and growers to measure, manage and reduce on-farm emissions; recognise, maintain or increase integrated sequestration on farms; and adapt to a changing climate.

The farm definition and tools available now for farms understanding their emissions may differ to the definition and tools approved for the farm-level emissions-pricing system that is being developed for 2025.

For more information talk to your industry body, go to, or mail





Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Dairy NZ

Federated Farmers of New Zealand

Horticulture NZ

Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA)

Ministry for the Environment (MfE)

Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI)

Foundation for Arable Research (FAR)

Dairy Companies Association (DCANZ)

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ)

Meat Industry New Zealand (MIA)

Irrigation New Zealand

Apiculture NZ



What are New Zealand’s greenhouse gas targets?


International targets

  • 30 per cent reduction below 2005 (or 11 per cent below 1990) gross emissions for the period 2021-2030.

Domestic targets

  • Net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases other than biogenic methane by 2050
  • 24 to 47 per cent below 2017 biogenic methane emissions by 2050, including 10 per cent below 2017 biogenic methane emissions by 2030.


What are He Waka Eke Noa’s milestones?

He Waka Eke Noa is one year into a five-year programme that will equip farmers and growers with the information, tools and support they need to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change.

By the end of 2020

Guidance on how to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions through farm planning published and available.

By the end of 2021

A quarter of farms in Aotearoa New Zealand know their annual total on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

A quarter of farms will have a written plan in place to measure and manage their emissions

By the end of 2022

100 percent of farms know their annual total on-farm emissions

By 2025

All farms include the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change in their farm business and environment plans

All farms calculate their greenhouse gas emissions sources and sinks and are incentivised to take actions on climate change through the development of an appropriate pricing scheme for emissions.