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Back to Research & Development

Environmental sustainability


MLA’s environmental sustainability research and development (R&D) investments aim to improve the short and long-term sustainability of the natural environmental, while simultaneously maintain and support a productive red meat industry that meets community expectations.

Successful adaptation and prosperity for the Australian red meat and livestock industry relies on investments into the efficient and effective management of soil health, water, methane emissions, biodiversity and climate variability.

Changes in climate, regulations, market requirements and community expectations demand that all sectors in the value chain continually adapt to the evolving operating environment.

Core activities

On-farm activities include the innovation and delivery of R&D relating to:

  • natural water management and preservation
  • sustained soil nutrients and run-off
  • methane reduction and inhibition
  • climate forecast products and extension services
  • grazing systems that incorporate pastures resilient to hotter and more variable climates
  • novel feeds and supplements that can reduce enteric methane emissions and improve productivity
  • soil carbon measurement technology
  • improved strains of dung beetles for waste management.
  • MLA’s environmental sustainability off-farm R&D investments support the improvement and management of enterprises post farmgate and include:
  • applying technologies and knowledge that support practical sustainability of the industry beyond the farm gate
  • developing biological processing systems, such as the Rural R&D for Profit project ‘Wastes to Profits’, to reduce environmental impact and convert wastes into valuable products
  • driving adoption of innovation that improves the management of water, energy, waste and greenhouse gas emissions
  • working with the Australian Meat Processor Corporation to develop sound, scientific solutions that will enhance the sustainability of the red meat processing sector.

Benefits to industry

  • The red meat industry has already made major progress with vegetation management, greenhouse gas emissions, water, land use and biodiversity. As a result, agriculture is contributing more to reducing greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector in the Australian economy.
  • By playing a lead role in reducing national greenhouse emissions, the red meat industry is driving the initiative to be carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Improved environmental sustainability that maintains or improves long-term productivity contributes to the industries social licence to operate.
  • Protecting natural resources ensures the industry safeguards the environment and its biodiversity for future generations.