Cementing the foundations for livestock producers to become carbon neutral

Remnant vegetation, leucaena, natural vegetation
Aerial view of Col and Joan Seiler’s ‘Killara’ property near Durong, Queensland – a participant in the abatement options modelling.

The From Method to Market project team is committed to helping Queensland red meat producers go carbon neutral by 2030. Eight collaborating beef businesses have been busy collating their historical cattle records; including feedback sheets, sales invoices, purchase invoices, branding numbers, cattle numbers at years end and purchased inputs (e.g., fuel, fertiliser, electricity etc.) for the past four financial years. This data is being used to calculate how much carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each business emits per year.

Project leader, Dr Hayley McMillan says “the next step will be to model on-farm abatement options to halve or neutralise these baseline emissions. The abatement options we are modelling in collaboration with Integrity Ag & Environment have been tailored to each individual business. They include legume establishment, voluntary retention of relatively small areas of native regrowth, remnant vegetation, and carbon sequestration by pastures where producers are maintaining pasture biomass at, or above, the average for the region”.

While these are the most likely on-farm offsets to achieve the red meat industry’s CN30 (carbon neutral by 2030) goal, it is important to note that some are not yet formally recognised by Australia’s public carbon market, The Emissions Reduction Fund. “However, public and private carbon markets are rapidly evolving to accommodate carbon neutral product certifications for a range of industries. Real-life red meat case studies like these will help to ensure that relevant and affordable methods are available to the red meat industry to achieve globally recognised low carbon and carbon neutral red meat products”, says Hayley. Equally as important is the opportunity to demonstrate to livestock producers what ‘going carbon neutral’ is likely to look like at the family farm level.

The ‘From Method to Market’ project is jointly funded by Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, The Land Restoration Fund, CIBO Labs and Meat & Livestock Australia. For more information contact Dr Hayley McMillan on 0429 019 988.

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