Carbon farming: managing pastures to reduce sheep methane emissions

Page last updated: Thursday, 8 November 2018 - 9:45am

Feed intake and methane emissions are influenced by the digestibility of the pasture and the concentration of plant secondary compounds such as tannins. Maintaining a higher proportion of legumes is a strategy that farmers could adopt to reduce methane emissions.

We provide this information to support land manager decisions about investing in carbon farming.

Benefits of managing pastures to reduce sheep methane emissions

Carbon benefits with an approved methodology do not exist.

Co-benefit from managing pastures to decrease methane production is that pasture productivity usually increases.

Opportunities in managing pastures for methane reduction:

  • It is relevant to all sheep enterprises, excluding the pastoral zone where legumes fail to persist.
  • There is a potential for alternative legumes to increase profit and reduce emissions.
  • Methane emissions could be reduced as much as 25% in pure legume pastures compared to pure grass pastures.

Risks of managing pastures to reduce sheep methane emissions

  • There is no approved methodology for this activity.
  • There are no accurate techniques for measuring feed intake and methane emissions from livestock in commercial grazing situations.
  • The additionality test will determine if this activity is eligible for carbon credits.
  • There is unpredictable variation in methane emissions between animals and across differing environments.
  • Carbon price is highly variable.
  • Pasture composition varies widely between seasons, and maintaining a high legume content may be difficult in some seasonal sequences.

Contact information

Rob Sudmeyer
+61 (0)8 9083 1129