International agribusiness consulting firm AbacusBio is using science to tackle some of the environmental challenges facing the global agricultural industry.
Headquartered in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand, the company also has offices across the globe, including in Edinburgh, Scotland.
AbacusBio offers a range of services across four pillars - Farm, Science, Strategy and Technology - and is involved in a number of projects which aim to increase environmental efficiencies and productivity on-farm.
One project, for example, is studying whether genetics can be used to reduce the amount of methane emitted per kilo of feed eaten by cattle. Desktop modelling is being used to prepare a business case, with the New Zealand Government keen to explore any avenues which can help to reduce carbon footprint.
If the results show a methane trait is heritable (already a proven concept in sheep genetics) the company says it will open the door to a totally new decision-making process. For example, breeders may trade-off other traits for the methane trait.
Other work the company is doing includes research into lowering nitrate leaching. This is based on urine sensors attached to cows measuring urine volume and frequency. Researchers then plot the timing and concentration of nitrogen output from individual cows.
A simple result has showed the importance of water quality. The higher the quality of water the more the cow drinks and the more dilute its urine. This subsequently lowers the nitrate concentration in the urine patches.
Timothy Byrne, managing director at AbacusBio International Ltd spoke at our free-to-attend webinar ‘Preserving the future of farming’, at 8pm on August 19. Farmers Guardian editor Ben Briggs spoke with New Zealand agritech businesses about the tech development work they are doing to address climate change and looking at the lessons UK farmers can learn from them.
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