Beef cattle herd management

Closed 25 May 2017

Opened 25 May 2017

Published Responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

The climate change function transferred to our department from the Department of the Environment and Energy on 1 February 2020.

Finalised method determination

Method Determination Variation made. The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Beef Cattle Herd Management) Methodology Determination Variation 2017 was made on 25 May 2017 which varied the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Beef Cattle Herd Management) Methodology Determination 2015.

The variation introduced a number of changes to the method. The major changes included accounting for mergers and acquisitions when complete historical data for a herd is not available, complexity with the project boundary and the need to increase transparency of cattle numbers and movements between herds, and the definition of a business operation which does not have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Project applications to implement the Methodology Determination may be made to the Clean Energy Regulator.

About this method

The Determination provides for crediting of emissions reductions from pasture-fed beef cattle. Crediting is based on emissions reductions achieved through efficiency gains, where emissions are reduced while beef production is maintained or increased.

Who could benefit?

The method allows producers of pasture-fed beef cattle across Australia to earn carbon credits by reducing the amount of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from their beef cattle herds. The benefits associated with reducing these emissions could include higher productivity and improved animal health in beef cattle herds.

How does it work?

Beef cattle emit methane when digesting feed and nitrous oxide from their dung and urine. Emissions from a beef cattle herd are related to productivity, which is influenced by feed composition and herd management practices. When cattle have access to sufficient high quality feed, they have better survival and growth rates. Improving breeding practices and removing less productive animals can also help enhance herd performance.

The results of these improvements include herds with lower average age and higher weight gain relative to age. Emissions are reduced because cattle produce emissions for fewer days, and fewer animals are required for a given level of output. A range of management practices can deliver these emissions reductions. Farmers can choose the management practices best suited to their circumstances. Types of practices that could be adopted include:

  • establishing higher quality pasture
  • providing a feed supplement all year round
  • improving weaning percentage by culling unproductive cows
  • installing fences to control herd movements and improve joining practices
  • expanding watering points to allow cattle to graze more widely and make better use of available pasture.

Landholders should seek expert advice before undertaking any ERF project to understand which activities suit their land and which method best fits their business needs.

Eligibility

The following requirements need to be met to ensure a project is eligible under this method.

  • Herds must consist of cattle grazed in Australia and their feed must come principally from grazing or forage. Herds in feedlots are not eligible.
  • Each herd must have continuity of management over time and be managed and pastured separately from other herds.
  • The composition of a herd may change over time, but the herd and animals in the herd must be able to be identified.
  • The liveweight gain of each herd must be positive for three years of the seven years preceding the project.
  • At least one practice that can be reasonably expected to reduce emissions must be undertaken in each year of the crediting period. The practice can be a new practice or a variation on a practice undertaken prior to the project. Supporting evidence must be provided.

Monitoring, reporting and auditing

This method requires monitoring of the number and liveweight of cattle in each animal class in the herd, dates on which the cattle entered and left the herd, and details of any change in diet undertaken as part of the project. This information is required to calculate emissions. The Herd Management Calculator, available below, must be used for these calculations. Monitoring of land on which projects are undertaken, all cattle associated with the project proponents business operations and any changes in participating business operations is also required.

It is important to keep project records because they will be used to calculate the abatement that has been achieved by the project. These records can be gathered from a range of sources such as a stock book, sale and purchase invoices and tax records. Projects are required to submit a report to the Clean Energy Regulator every one to two years.

Projects must be audited by a registered greenhouse and energy (NGERS) auditor. A list of registered auditors is available on the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Tools

The Beef Cattle Herd Management Calculator for the original Determination and the varied Determination is below.

The Beef Cattle Herd Management Calculator below has been developed to assist project proponents to estimate the effect of improving efficiency of pasture-fed beef cattle production to reduce emissions.

It is a requirement that all projects under the Determination use the Beef Cattle Herd Management Calculator to estimate emissions reductions for reporting purposes.

The current version of the Calculator depends on which version of the Determination a proponent is under.

The current version of the calculator for the original determination is different from the version on the website at the time of commencement of the original Determination (Version 1.0). On 13 November 2015 an update of a minor nature was made to the Calculator. The applicable version of the Calculator for the original Determination is Version 1.1. Proponents with projects still registered under the superseded version will need to use version 1.1 to calculate abatement.

The applicable version of the Calculator for the Variation as in force of 25 May 2017 to 28 November was Version 2.0. From 29 November 2017 onwards, the applicable version was 3.0. Please see the release notes for further Beef Cattle Herd Management Calculator version release details.

The Beef Cattle Herd Management overview of calculations contains a Guidance Manual to assist proponents when entering data, this guidance only details the overview for the original Determination. The Guidance Manual includes instructions on how to activate macros in the Calculator.

Proponents with projects registered under the latest version of the method will need to use this version of the calculator to calculate their project carbon abatement:

Proponents with projects still registered under the superseded version of the method will need to use this version of the calculator to calculate their project carbon abatement:

Variation to the method

The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Beef Cattle Herd Management) Methodology Determination Variation 2017 was made on 25 May 2017, which varied the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative—Beef Cattle Herd Management) Methodology Determination 2015.

The Variation:

  • enables entry of herds into a project with less than three full years of historical data;
  • reduces complexity and minimises the potential for gaming abatement calculations by increasing transparency and controls on cattle movements between herds;
  • allows businesses without an Australian Business Number but part of a larger entity to participate; and
  • increases flexibility around mustering and weighing for projects with multiple herds and herds with large numbers of animals while improving accuracy of abatement estimates.

The method clarifies a number of definitions and project requirements, and makes a number of minor changes.

The variation followed one public consultation periods

Draft Variation public consultation period: 2 to 16 August 2016

August 2016 public consultation

The following summary, draft variation, explanatory statement and calculator were released for public comment during the August 2016 consultation:

Public consultation

Draft determination and supporting documents

The following non-confidential submissions were received through the August 2016 consultation process:

Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC) advice

The ERAC's advice to the Minister of 30 March 2017 regarding the suitability of the method to be made is published here, in accordance with Section 106(11) (C) of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011.

Superseded version of the method

Development of the original method

The superseded versions of this method, as in force prior to the variation made on 25 May 2017, is available on the Federal Register of Legislation as linked below. Users that registered projects under this version, and who have not transferred their project(s) to a newer version, are required to continue to follow them.

To transfer from a superseded version of the method to the current version, users should refer to the rules set out in section 18A of the current version.

Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC) advice

The ERAC's advice to the Minister regarding the Determination is published here, in accordance with Section 106(11) (C) of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011.

Public consultation

Draft determination and supporting documents

A draft method determination for the beef cattle sector was released for public comment from 8 December 2014 to 9 January 2015.

Note: A draft method determination that is open for public comment should not be relied upon for planning an ERF project. Draft method determinations may be modified following public consultation and are not final until made by the Minister for the Environment.

Audiences

  • Emissions Reduction Fund

Interests

  • Climate Change
  • Emissions Reduction Fund