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Climate Clever Beef: options to improve business performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in northern Australia

Bray, Steven and Walsh, Dionne and Phelps, David and Rolfe, Joe and Broad, Kiri and Whish, Giselle and Quirk, Michael (2016) Climate Clever Beef: options to improve business performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in northern Australia. The Rangeland Journal, 38 (3). pp. 207-218.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ15124

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/RJ15124

Abstract

The Rangeland Journal – Climate Clever Beef special issue examines options for the beef industry in northern Australia to contribute to the reduction in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to engage in the carbon economy. Relative to its gross value (A$5 billion), the northern beef industry is responsible for a sizable proportion of national reportable GHG emissions (8–10%) through enteric methane, savanna burning, vegetation clearing and land degradation. The industry occupies large areas of land and has the potential to impact the carbon cycle by sequestering carbon or reducing carbon loss. Furthermore, much of the industry is currently not achieving its productivity potential, which suggests that there are opportunities to improve the emissions intensity of beef production. Improving the industry’s GHG emissions performance is important for its environmental reputation and may benefit individual businesses through improved production efficiency and revenue from the carbon economy. The Climate Clever Beef initiative collaborated with beef businesses in six regions across northern Australia to better understand the links between GHG emissions and carbon stocks, land condition, herd productivity and profitability. The current performance of businesses was measured and alternate management options were identified and evaluated. Opportunities to participate in the carbon economy through the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) were also assessed. The initiative achieved significant producer engagement and collaboration resulting in practice change by 78 people from 35 businesses, managing more than 1 272 000 ha and 132 000 cattle. Carbon farming opportunities were identified that could improve both business performance and emissions intensity. However, these opportunities were not without significant risks, trade-offs and limitations particularly in relation to business scale, and uncertainty in carbon price and the response of soil and vegetation carbon sequestration to management. This paper discusses opportunities for reducing emissions, improving emission intensity and carbon sequestration, and outlines the approach taken to achieve beef business engagement and practice change. The paper concludes with some considerations for policy makers.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:carbon sequestration, grazing, participatory action research, productivity, profitability, rangeland.
Subjects:Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Cattle > Meat production
Deposited On:22 Jul 2016 03:14
Last Modified:22 Jul 2016 03:14

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