The Environmental Protection Authority has approved a feed additive to reduce methane emissions in livestock.
DSM Nutritional Products (DSM) applied to import or manufacture a substance containing 10-25% of 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP, the active substance sold under the brand name Bovaer) – a chemical that is new to New Zealand.
DSM said 3-NOP can reduce methane emissions from ruminant animals, including cows, sheep and goats, by 30%.
“Substances for climate change mitigation are still new to New Zealand and are important for meeting New Zealand’s international obligations under climate agreements. This is the country’s first application for a methane inhibitor, so it was important to confirm how 3-NOP would be used and the information we required to carry out an appropriate risk assessment,” Dr Chris Hill, general manager of hazardous substances and new organisms, said.
“To ensure this was a robust assessment, the application was subject to a number of requests for additional information. DSM also put the application on hold for around eight months, so they could compile further information for the risk assessment process.”
In concentrated forms, 3-NOP can pose significant risks to people and the EPA has put in place rules for safely using the substance.
This application does not cover lower concentrations of 3-NOP likely to be added in the final products used in agriculture or by farmers, and some formulations may require separate EPA approval.
The EPA is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries on the regulation of methane and nitrogen inhibitors, with the aim of streamlining the EPA’s application and assessment process for these substances.
New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle said it has not received an application from DSM to use Bovaer in animals here under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act, and it’s the company’s choice when to make one.
“It’s important to note that the product is mostly used in housed feeding situations overseas, which differ from New Zealand practices,” he said.
NZFS has recently engaged with DSM to discuss timing for an application to register Bovaer for use in animals, which is separate from the EPA’s role to assess its risk assessment for human health and the environment.