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Resource use and Greenhouse Gas emissions from the Australian beef industry: An analysis of trends from 1981-2010

The study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date in the environmental efficiency of Australian beef production and found significant improvements in emissions and water use on farm over 30 years between 1981 - 2010.  Key findings from the study were:

  • GHG: Over the three decades since 1981 there has been a decrease in GHG intensity (excluding LUC emissions) of 14%, from 15.3 to 13.1 kg CO2-e / kg LW.  
  • WATER: Consumptive water use for beef production dropped to almost a third over the three decades from 1981, from 1465 L/ kg LW to 515 L / kg LW.  
  • ENERGY: Energy demand increased by almost two-fold over the analysis period from 6.3-11 MJ/kg LW, as a result of intensification in the supply chain.  
  • LAND USE: This indicated a decline in land occupation for grazing per unit of production of around 19% over the analysis period. This intensification of land use (i.e. an increase in the beef production per ha of land occupation) reflected both the increase in herd efficiency and a decrease in total land use for grazing.  
  • LAND USE CHANGE GHG emissions: Estimated to have declined by approximately 42% since 1980 by the paper authors, although they caution a lower degree of certainty with available data available for land use change.  The decline largely reflects the ban on broad scale clearing in Queensland.
Projects B.CCH.2086 and B.CCH.2087 relate to project B.CCH.2032.These consultancies conduct a technical review of the Final Report of the project titled: The environmental intensity of Australian Beef Production 1981 to 2011 (B.CCH.2032).


Title Size Date published
3.4MB 04/11/2013


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Quantifying trends in GHG efficiency of red meat production
28/06/2011 01/03/2014
First Reviewer of GHG Intensity Report - Sevenster Environmental Pty Ltd
30/09/2013 15/10/2013
Second Reviewer of GHG Intensity Report - AgResearch NZ
30/09/2013 15/10/2013

This page was last updated on 19/09/2018