Is carbon neutral the key to retaining export beef markets? Australian world first trials receive new funding

Central Queensland University and Australian agritech company DIT AgTech are trialling a new world-first patented technology that will both reduce livestock methane emissions and capture carbon reductions to allow farmers to trade credits online. Clinical trials for this technology platform are underway.

New funding for this project as part of the 2021 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship awards was recently announced by The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe MP Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement.

Dr Diogo Costa has been awarded $240,000 to evaluate dietary supplements that reduce methane emissions by using cutting edge technology to efficiently add these compounds into livestock water supply. Rockhampton-based Dr Costa thanked Advance Queensland for the fellowship and said he was overjoyed to receive it.

“This is a huge opportunity, not just for my research career, but for the livestock industry to use agtech from Direct Injection Technologies (DIT) to find a practical solution to the challenge of reducing methane emissions,” said Dr Costa.

Methane emissions from livestock account for about 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia’s agricultural sector and 11 per cent of total national greenhouse gas emissions.

“That makes livestock the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the transport and energy sectors,” said Dr Costa.

“Using technology to deliver practical solutions for producers and industry to major challenges like emissions reduction is the primary focus CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management team.

“The intention is to look at a range of supplements that can be added to livestock water supplies –similar to the way fluoride is added to public water supply for humans – that have potential to reduce enteric methane production, or as some might say, ‘the burping’, which is the primary way by which livestock emit methane.”

Dr Costa said with much of our livestock grazing on vast properties, one of the big challenges was finding a cost-effective ways to deliver supplements.

“So we’ll use on-farm sensor technologies to safely add supplements in the water supply to reduce methane emissions from livestock,” he said.

“If we can get those emissions down, that will go a long way to helping Australia meet its 2050 net zero emissions target.”

Using proven methane reduction feed additive in different combinations, the innovation is in the remotely monitored delivery system using drinking water to distribute the additives in soluble form, a terrific way to deliver the supplements across vast areas. This delivery system will be a world first.

The next challenge will be how does the system fit into the value chain. Should farmer sell credits for funds or retain it to have a carbon neutral beef product to be more attractive to consumers? Or do we need carbon neutral meat to keep export access?


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