New Zealand farmers may be asked to cut numbers of dairy and suckler cows and sheep numbers by 15% by 2030 if the recommendations from the New Zealand independent climate change commission are adopted by its government.

This expert grouping has suggested a 15% reduction in the numbers of dairy cows, beef cows and sheep by 2030 while maintaining current production levels. The researchers have advised that because methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas it does not need to drop to zero by 2050. This is a point that has been under discussion in Ireland also.

The expert group have also accepted the blanket planting of pine trees on farms is not an option. They emphasise there is a need for research on solutions such as inhibitors, vaccines, and research into selective breeding.

Their draft carbon budgets and advice have been sent to New Zealand's government for consultation. These budgets determine how much each sector should emit over three five-year periods to 2035.

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