Carbon Life Cycle Analysis for the Western Australian beef industry

Page last updated: Friday, 10 December 2021 - 10:17am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

In support of the State Government’s commitment to reducing industry emissions and mitigating climate change, DPIRD is developing a life cycle assessment (LCA) for beef production in Western Australia (WA).

A life cycle assessment is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with a commercial product. The LCA will calculate the carbon footprint of WA beef industry, including detail on agricultural, arid and tropical beef production systems.

Development of an industry-wide LCA will drive positive action for WA agriculture and policy. Having a clear picture of the beef industry’s impacts on and from climate change will allow industry to make informed decisions about implementing climate-positive strategies.

The LCA will provide an environmental assessment of the WA beef production system and will collect data that can be used to benchmark performance in future years. DPIRD will examine how this assessment can be used to define, quantify, track and improve sustainability throughout the industry over time.

Identifying carbon “hot spots” within the sheep supply chain will assist industry to address issues relating to sustainability and land management practices. Improvements in these areas will assist industry to maintain their social licence to farm, and promote WA sheep products to environmentally-conscious consumers.

This nationally significant project aligns with other DPIRD initiatives, including achieving Carbon Life Cycle Analysis for the Western Australian sheep industry, carbon neutrality for the Katanning Research Facility (KRF) and the Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program.

DPIRD is partnering with Integrity Ag & Environment - Australia's leading consultants in LCAs of agrifood systems with specific skills in beef and agricultural systems.

Project objectives

  1. Complete an LCA focused on greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint) for the WA beef industry from a tropical, arid and agricultural perspective.
  2. Identify carbon impact hotspots associated with the WA beef industry.
  3. Identify information requirements to track environmental performance over time.
  4. Explore improvement options for production in WA, allowing DPIRD to understand and potentially set targets to reduce impacts over time.

Methods and data analysis

Beef production (farm level)

Farm and pastoral scale information required for this analysis includes: energy and water use, beef production data (herd inventories of numbers, sales and movements, weight-for-age and/or transfer weights etc.), purchased inputs (such as fuel, machinery and supplementary feed), use of contractors, feed use and ration descriptions (if relevant).

Modelling

Based on these surveys, Integrity Ag & Environment will model the LCA of beef production, using a custom modelling platform developed by the company that has been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Start date:  1 May 2021
End date:   1 May 2022

Contact information

Mandy Curnow
+61 (0)8 9892 8422

Author

Mandy Curnow