AgResearch’s work to breed low methane-emitting sheep has won it the supreme award at the Science New Zealand Awards. Scientists have spent 10 years on the project trying to identify genetic differences which influence how much methane an individual sheep produces. Through breeding for this low-methane genetic trait, they have discovered that after three generations the lowest-emitting sheep produce close to 13% less methane than the highest emitters. When you bring other desirable genetic traits, like tasty meat and wool, that cuts back the amount of methane produced but it is still expected to be significant. AgResearch senior scientist Suzanne Rowe says knowledge is being shared with researchers globally and is also adding to research into breeding lower methane-emitting cattle. The ag sector, produces almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and needs practical tools to help achieve a reduction target of 24-47% less methane by 2050.