Carbon farming fact sheet - managing stocking rate to reduce carbon emissions in sheep

Page last updated: Thursday, 8 November 2018 - 9:43am

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About 80% of the variation in methane production is explained by feed intake. Reducing the stocking rate of sheep on the farm reduces the pasture consumption and methane production per hectare.

As part of the Carbon Farming Project, the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) has made available a fact sheet detailing the carbon benefits, co-benefits, opportunities and associated risks of this activity. A summary is provided below. This information has been based on an assessment by DAFWA of current scientific information and trends.

See the fact sheet for more information.


Carbon benefits for reducing the stocking rate of sheep would most likely not be classed as additional, if it is a legal requirement to mitigate degradation.

Co-benefit for reducing the stocking rate to reduce methane emissions is the recovery of degraded paddocks through reduced grazing pressure.

Opportunities for reducing the stocking rate to reduce CO2 emissions are relevant to all sheep enterprises in Western Australia. The opportunity, however, will only be for farms needing to recover degraded paddocks through reducing the stock density. For mixed farming enterprises in some regions, the drop in profit (caused by reducing sheep numbers) could be less or eliminated if the land previously used for grazing sheep was to be used for cropping or other more profitable enterprises not involving livestock.

Risk of reducing the stocking rate is that it lowers profitability more than the current value of the saved carbon emissions.

Contact information

Henry Brockman
+61 (0)8 9892 8435


Henry Brockman