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Moving towards carbon neutrality - Feedlot Technical Manual

Did you know that less than 0.5% of national greenhouse gas emissions are from the beef feedlot sector?

Project start date: 25 May 2020
Project end date: 15 April 2021
Publication date: 23 July 2021
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grain-fed Cattle
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (1.8 MB)


Getting in front of emerging consumer perceptions is essential to maintain beef as a trusted source of protein on dining tables around the world. In recent times, there has been increased media coverage of the interaction between beef production and the environment.

To establish Australia as a world leader in environmental sustainability, the Australian red meat and livestock industry has set the ambitious target to be Carbon Neutral by 2030 (CN30). By 2030, Australian beef, lamb and goat production, including grazing, lot feeding and meat processing, will be making significant progress toward zero net release of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere.

This manual will review opportunities in the carbon neutrality space to assist lot feeding organisations and grainfed beef brand owners in decision-making and business planning. This could be as simple as feeding ingredients that improve cattle productivity whilst reducing methane output. Some companies are conducting carbon footprints to understand their emissions profiles, and committing to reduction targets as part of their corporate sustainability strategies. Other companies are pioneering carbon neutral brands and testing the market premiums available in domestic and global markets.


  • Develop a booklet that outlines pathways to carbon neutrality for Australian feedlot organisations available in the lead up to 2030.
  • Develop case studies on the economics of carbon neutrality for grain-fed beef brands, whole product lines and feedlot organisations.

Key findings

  • Feedlots are an important part of the beef supply chain, providing a high level of production efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of feed intake than grazing cattle. The lot feeding industry is well positioned to contribute towards the industry’s goals of net zero emissions.
  • At present, 5.3% of red meat industry, 3.5% agricultural emissions and 0.5% national emissions originate from the sector.
  • This manual contains the most up to date information required to understand emissions and where they originate within the lot feeding sector, ways to account for those, to reduce or mitigate those and then the pathway for linking all that together and becoming carbon neutral. Several case studies demonstrate various approaches to net zero emissions.

Benefits to industry

This manual benefits the wider red meat industry by providing education in greenhouse gases and carbon trading. The feedlot industry in particular stands to benefit if it can move towards carbon neutrality due to the opportunities for increased revenue and product sustainability.

MLA action

MLA continues to implement a wide range of R&D activities in the carbon neutral space. Evaluating methane inhibiting feed additives is a current focus for the MLA Feedlot program, as well as building data to underpin development of emission reduction funds methods of the Federal Government.

MLA has extended this manual to the lot feeding industry via:

  • presentation at the Australian Lot Feeders' Association carbon neutral webinar - 12th May, 2021
  • article in the MLA Quarterly Feed Newsletter - May 2021.

More information

Contact email:
Primary researcher: Integrity Ag and Environment Pty Ltd