From method to market – unlocking ecosystem service opportunities for livestock producers

Livestock properties occupy almost 50% of the Australian continent. They have potential to store large amounts of carbon in vegetation and soil as well as supporting unique biodiversity and healthy water systems. With more than $2.5 billion in government funds being committed to payments for ecosystem services, livestock properties have the potential to service these markets. However, several key market barriers have excluded most livestock producers from participating in these environmental markets while still profitably producing livestock.

Methods such as the use of legumes in extensive grazing systems and animal supplementation for reduced enteric methane emissions, biodiversity enhancement, and a whole-of-farm method design will be examined for maximising the generation and gross margin of carbon credits and co-benefits. The From Method to Market project will evaluate intensive and extensive livestock systems in Queensland, using the framework in Figure 1 on eight 4-year on-farm producer research and demonstration sites.

Figure 1. Environmental and premium red meat market feasibility framework that will be used to assess how improved pastures and animal management above ‘business-as-usual’ affect market access, whole-farm profitability and regional profitability

The method to market project aims to:

  • Identify and overcome, technical and economic barriers to producers participating in ecosystem service markets whilst producing livestock.
  • Review existing and develop new scientific methods for livestock producers to be rewarded for providing ecosystem services (generating carbon credits, biodiversity, water quality credits) whilst producing livestock
  • Provide livestock producers access to knowledge, skills and the opportunity to improve productivity through existing markets, new markets and emerging markets.

Contact:

Kerry Goodwin, email: kerry.goodwin@daf.qld.gov.au

Dr. Steven Bray, email: steven.bray@daf.qld.gov.au

Dr. Lester Pahl, email: lester.pahl@daf.qld.gov.au

Project partners:

The project is funded by Meat and Livestock Australia and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in collaboration with Department of Environment and Science and other partners.

Other resources on carbon and greenhouse issues in the beef industry: