Attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand livestock are in line to aid the nation's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol agreement.

Dicyandiamide, commonly known as DCD, is being used to prevent the conversion of nitrogen in cow urine and dung to the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.

The gas is thought to make up about one-sixth of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions. Tests show that DCD may cut up to 70 per cent of nitrous oxide produced in this manner.

After years of research, the Government hopes the DCD effects will be factored in to New Zealand's official emissions count when it is tallied by the UN in 2015.

Mark Aspin, manager of farming research body the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Consortium, said there was "pretty sound" evidence to show DCD significantly cuts emissions by keeping nitrate in the top layer of soil, where grass roots could absorb it before it washed away or transformed to nitrous oxide.

"We've done this all based on sound science so there's no real reason why it won't be acceptable [to the UN]."

Nitrous oxide is one of two major greenhouse gases from livestock, which together make up about half of New Zealand's emissions. The other is methane, which Mr Aspin said was still seven or more years away from a commercial solution.

Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues, Tim Groser, has asked other countries for leniency when they set new limits on New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions because there are few commercially available ways to limit emissions from farms.

UN scientists will look at DCD, which is already on the market, late this year and decide if it will count towards reducing New Zealand's tally.

Simon Terry, executive director of lobby group the Sustainability Council, said MAF reports showed that in theory DCD could reduce New Zealand's agriculture emissions by 7 per cent of 2010 levels at a profit to farmers.