Methane emissions and the use of Desmanthus in beef cattle production in Northern Australia

Suybeng, Benedicte, Charmley, Edward, Gardiner, Christopher, Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., and Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O. (2019) Methane emissions and the use of Desmanthus in beef cattle production in Northern Australia. Animals, 9 (8). 542.

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The Australian beef industry is a major contributor to the economy with an estimated annual revenue generation of over seven billion dollars. The tropical state of Queensland accounted for 48% of Australian beef and veal production in 2018. As the third biggest beef exporter in the world, Australia supplies 3% of the world’s beef exports and its agricultural sector accounts for an estimated 13.2% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. About 71% of total agricultural emissions are in the form of methane and nitrous oxide. In this review, an overview of the carbon footprint of the beef cattle production system in northern Australia is presented, with emphasis on the mitigation of greenhouse gases. The review also focuses on the tropical legume, Desmanthus, one of the more promising nutritional supplements for methane abatement and improvement of animal growth performance. Among the review’s findings is the need to select environmentally well-adapted and vigorous tropical legumes containing tannins that can persistently survive under the harsh northern Australian conditions for driving animal performance, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions. The paper argues that the use of appropriate legumes such as Desmanthus, is a natural and preferred alternative to the use of chemicals for the abatement of methane emanating from tropical beef cattle production systems. It also highlights current gaps in knowledge and new research opportunities for in vivo studies on the impact of Desmanthus on methane emissions of supplemented tropical beef cattle.

Item ID: 59771
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-2615
Keywords: methane emission; tropical beef cattle; Desmanthus; supplementation; growth performance; ruminant nutrition; legumes
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Copyright Information: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Funders: Cooperative Resesearch Centre for Developing Northern Australia (DCR-DNA), James Cook University
Projects and Grants: CRC-DNA P-58599
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2019 00:56
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300303 Animal nutrition @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 100%
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