Study suggests 1kg of beef sequesters 50kg CO2

Eric Barker, 18/07/2022

Soil core samples taken on Bonnie Doon, near Monto in Central Qld.

PRELIMINERY results from a soil carbon program in Central Queensland have suggested for every 1kg of beef produced on the property, 50kg of carbon has been sequestered.

Carbon Link, which was derived from grazing extension company RCS, earlier this year took the second round of soil samples from projects across 20,000 ha in New South Wales and Qld, which the company said exceeded expectations.

Terry McCosker

Dr Terry McCosker, who is the director of both companies, told the RCS conference at the weekend a project on Bonnie Doon station, near Monto, has shown impressive results. (see more from the conference here)

“The numbers off Bonnie Doon show close to 50kg of CO2 is sequestered per kg of meat sold off that property – averaged over the last five years,” Dr McCosker said.

“This is a number you can start to use to overcome this debate about methane, because that is after subtracting methane emissions.”

The results from Bonnie Doon and other properties doing projects with Carbon Link are currently receiving an independent audit by the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER) – which is responsible for issuing Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). One ACCU, which is currently worth $29.90, is awarded for each tonne of CO2 sequestered.

Carbon Link originally predicted the CER audit to be complete by the end of June, but that deadline has been pushed back to later this year.

The idea with soil carbon is to take a baseline carbon measurement with a series core samples, then change management techniques to increase sequestration – like introducing cell grazing or perennial pastures. A second round of soil samples are then taken with ACCUs awarded for any increases.

According to the Emissions Reduction Fund register, the Bonnie Doon soil carbon project was started in January 2017. Bonnie Doone Enterprises managing director Carly Burnham told the conference she was keen to see the results of the CER audit.

“The interim results indicate we are exceeding expectation and we await the final results and the issue of the ACCUs very patiently,” she said.

“All the while the price of carbon increases, the global appetite for green finance and emission reductions is constantly growing.

“I would love to share some data, some graphs and some hardcore facts and figures, but it is too early to do that. But it won’t be long and this will be an incredible leap for agriculture.”

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  1. David Carr, 09/08/2022

    Where is the evidence? Has this been published? Without details of methods and the science behind it, it is a bit preliminary to make these claims.
    Does the study take account of variability between different years?
    Hi David, the study is being reviewed by the Clean Energy Regulator, more details will come after that. The project in the article started in 2017. Eric

  2. Alan Lauder, 19/07/2022

    With cattle methane, the true science does have to come into play at some time.

    Climate scientists have long understood that using the GWP 100 metric, for calculating the contribution to temperature change by the different greenhouse gases, is not fit for purpose. Carbon neutral is based on GWP 100 which is using accepted science in a context that no longer applies. The outcome of using flawed accounting for temperature change, is that it shifts emphasis and encourages decisions that move the world towards 2 degrees of warming faster.

    As an example, GWP 100 says that a 10% reduction in ongoing stable methane emissions from cattle will still result in temperature rise, when this action actually produces global cooling.

    The obvious question has to be asked, how does reducing radiative forcing, by reducing the net balance of methane in the atmosphere, lead to temperature rise?

    It is policy, not science, that is forcing producers to store all this carbon to meet the CN30 promise.

  3. Rod Kater, 19/07/2022

    These findings are in accord with a 650 Kg pasture fed bovine animal having, like all mammals, a body composed of 16% organic carbon, allowing for fluxes during life, the net carbon sequestered in the animal is 104 Kg, all derived from atmospheric CO2 by photosynthesis.

  4. Alessandro Gardini, 19/07/2022

    Great news.
    We should also point out the role the pastoral industries play over millions of hectares of Australia in reducing the huge greenhouse gas emissions generated by uncontrolled, destructive wild fires, through (1) reducing fuel load of grass, and (2) providing an army of volunteer firefighters not only for pastoral land but also adjacent forests, non-agricultural lands and rural towns.

    Let us recognise the value of the dung of bovines, Australia’s only widespread megafauana.

    Human beings, including inner city Greens voters, are damaging to the environment, not cows. Pastoralists are the modern custodians of country.

  5. Wilmer Bernal, 18/07/2022

    Very good paper abaut soil and carbón

  6. Will Cannon, 18/07/2022

    Great news . Take note Albo !!!!

  7. Peter Dunn, 18/07/2022

    The devil’s advocate is thinking that no matter how correct and reliable this program is, and how positive the results could be for the industry, the hard line environmentalist will not accept it, and will work overtime to invent reasons to devalue it. The common sense advocate is thinking that resources and effort directed towards appeasing market and public opinion hijackers (both political and non political) could instead buy stock, repair farm infrastructure and pay wages. The correctness of one or the other of these two thought processes lies possibly a decade away, when farmers will either be still farming and thriving, or dealing with the trauma of transitioning out of farming. Is it fair that farmers have to dance to ideological music while being expected to produce the nation’s food? No, absolutely not, so stop doing it.

    • brad Zischke, 19/07/2022

      No matter what we think we know or do know. The Globalists will only promote the spin that suits their agenda.

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