DURING the afternoon session at last week's Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Challenge field day in Albany, Caris Jones, livestock genetics project manager at Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), spoke about the industry's aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 (CN30) in the red meat industry.
After providing some information on what MLA is all about as a company, Ms Jones moved on to explaining where the agricultural industry was at in terms of reducing greenhouse gases and the steps they were taking going forward.
"MLA is a service provider, invested to ensure that producers are profitable, there is global stability and competitiveness for producers," Ms Jones said.
MLA is looking at targeted investments to address the big industry challenges, with climate variability being one of those challenges.
"We are investing in research and development to help work towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the red meat industry," she said.
"Red meat CN30 has an ambitious goal to double the value of red meat value and sales."
MLA will look to achieve this goal through co-ordinated research and development efforts.
"We have actually managed to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions by 57 per cent, so we are already on our way to CN30," Ms Jones said.
The three main factors to be aware of going forward for producers is greenhouse gas avoidance - knowing the sources of emission such as livestock production, carbon storage and ensuring integrated management systems which is the need to measure emissions to know where you are at so you can improve.
Ms Jones went on to explain some of the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"This will help us demonstrate our environmental stewardship," she said.
"Our consumers already expect we are doing a good job we want to make sure that they continue to feel that way so we can keep market access on both a domestic and international level."
One of the larger sources of greenhouse gases in the industry is methane from livestock, which according to Ms Jones is strongly linked to feed intake due to the carbohydrates consumed by the cattle being turned into methane, with about 50-90kg of methane per year per head being produced.
"This is a 10pc loss of feed energy, which equates to 33-60 grazing days lost per year from methane being produced instead of productivity such as growth," Ms Jones said.
She also said there was variation between individual animals, which from a genetics perspective, could be exploited and used to produce cattle and sheep that put less methane into the atmosphere and will ultimately help to increase animal productivity and profitability.
The remainder of the talk was centred around genetic progress and how producers will be able to breed a lower emission herd going forward.