Sheep reproduction and reduced methane emissions

Page last updated: Friday, 28 November 2014 - 11:18am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Mating ewes early (at eight to 10 months of age) could enable farmers to reduce whole farm methane production because this practice would also reduce the number of adult ewes.

DAFWA undertook an assessment of current scientific information and trends and determined the carbon benefits, co-benefits, opportunities and associated risks described below.

Carbon benefits do not exist because no methodology has been approved for this activity.

Mating ewes younger can reduce methane emissions

Co-benefit for altering management to reduce methane emissions is that an increase in the reproductive rate by mating ewe lambs increases on-farm profit.

Opportunities for altering management for reduced methane emissions:

  • It is relevant to all sheep enterprises in WA.
  • Mating ewe lambs can reduce total carbon emissions by 7.5%.

Risks associated with altering management for reduced methane emissions:

  • Reducing the reproductive rate of the flock by varying flock structure reduces profitability by much more than the current value of the carbon emissions saved.
  • The reproductive rate achieved from the ewe lambs is likely to vary widely between good and poor seasons.
  • If the sheep meat price drops, the incentive to continue mating ewe lambs drops.

Contact information

Henry Brockman
+61 (0)8 9892 8435