THE massive task of reducing the Australian livestock industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 50 million tonnes a year appears to be on track with the development of a molasses-based medicated lick block.
Designed specifically for the extensive pastoral industry, the block has been developed to reduce the methane production of an animal by the equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon abatement a year.
Already trialed in northern Australia and South East Asia, the block is now being assessed by the federal government as part of Australia’s climate response.
Technology such as the Agcotech block will be critical if the red meat industry is to achieve its ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2030.
If emissions cannot be significantly reduced, the nonsensical alternative being proposed is a massive reduction in livestock numbers.
While the intensive feedlot and dairy industries have their sights set on the highly effective methane inhibitors 3-nitrooxypropanol (3NOP) and the red seaweed, asparogopsis taxiformis, solutions for the 23 million cattle found in extensive systems have been more problematic.
Professor Luciano Gonzales from the University of Sydney said the the active ingredients were micro-encapsulatied in the molasses block formulation. That allowed the delivery of rumen modifiers to cattle on a daily basis, reducing emissions and providing energy and essential nutrients. This in turn increased the survival rates of calves and boosted the overall productivity of cattle, he said.