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Beef cattle herd management method

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22 May 2018

Is the beef cattle herd management method suitable for your business?

  • Does your cattle herd graze on pasture?
  • Do you want to improve the feed efficiency of your cattle?
  • Are you thinking of introducing a new herd management activity or varying an activity already under way?

A project using the Beef cattle herd management method can reduce the emissions intensity of beef cattle production by reducing cattle emissions per kilogram of liveweight produced.

The emissions intensity of a herd may be reduced by improving cattle productivity, reducing the average age of a herd, reducing the proportion of unproductive animals in the herd or changing the number of animals in each livestock class in the herd.

Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) are earned when emissions from the herd, as a result of the project, are lower than they would have been had the project not been conducted.

Emissions intensity is the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced by an activity per unit of the final product. For beef cattle, emissions intensity is measured as tonnes of greenhouse gas emitted for each tonne of beef produced.

Before registering a project under this method, you should understand the basic steps to participating in the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Method variations

Section 114 of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Ini​tiative) Act 2011 (the Act)​ ​allows for methods to be revised and varied. This is to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended. Variations to methods are developed and drafted by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Information on draft methods and method variations is available on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website.

The Clean Energy Regulator recommends making yourself familiar with proposed method variations relevant to your project should they arise, and how any changes between the original method and the varied method may affect your project plan.

Legislative requirements

You must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements to conduct a Beef cattle herd management project and earn Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs). This includes:


Quick reference guide to the Beef cattle herd management method


Crediting period

Seven years​ - The crediting period is the period of time a project can apply to claim Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs).

Relevant section of the Act:


To be eligible to run a project, you must meet the general eligibility requirements, as well as method specific eligibility requirements. For this method these are:

Each herd in the project must consist of cattle that are:

  • grazed in Australia,
  • fed principally from grazing or forage, and
  • managed in a way consistent with:
    • ANZSIC class 0142 (beef cattle farming)
    • ANZSIC class 0144 (sheep-beef cattle farming)
    • ANZSIC class 0145 (grain-sheep or grain-beef cattle farming)

Each herd in the project must have continuity of management. This means the herd must be managed by the same business operation (see Explanatory Statement Part 3 Section 8), from the beginning of the emissions intensity reference period to the end of the projects crediting period.

The scheme participant must specify a business operation as the primary business operation for a herd and identify the members of each group of animals by herd, livestock class and date of entry into the herd.

The emissions intensity reference period is three of the seven years before an application is made to run a project where the liveweight gain for the herd for the year was greater than zero (Figure 1). Scheme participants must specify an emissions intensity reference period for each herd in the project.

Figure 1: Emissions intensity reference period 3 of 7 years before application

Each herd in the project must also be managed and pastured separately from other herds so that emissions can be accurately and separately quantified.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Method:

Relevant section of the Explanatory Statement:

What's not eligible

  • ANZSIC Class 0143 Beef Cattle Feedlots
  • ​ANZSIC Class 0160 Dairy Cattle Farming
  • feeding cattle on land cleared of perennial woody vegetation for the purposes of the project
  • feeding the herd non-protein nitrogen such as urea or nitrates, and
  • only grazing cattle on a different area of land.

Relevant section of the Method:

Project Activities

A project activity is an agricultural practice that was not carried out during the emissions intensity reference period. It may also be a variation or extension of a practice that was carried out during the emissions intensity reference period.

Examples of project activities include supplement feeding, installing new fences, planting improved pastures, use of estimated breeding values to select bulls, and increasing density of water points.

Participants can conduct other activities to reduce emissions intensity, but they must meet the requirements of the method. In your application to register your project you will need to demonstrate how your proposed activity will result in reduced emissions intensity. See Table 1 in Section 17 of the Explanatory Statement for a suggested approach to describing project activities.

Relevant section of the Method:

Relevant section of the Explanatory Statement:

Project baseline

The project baseline is an estimate of the emissions that would have occurred had a project activity not been implemented.

Baseline emissions are calculated for the herd each year and are essential for calculating​ the projects abatement. Use the Herd Management Calculator to work out your projects baseline.

Relevant section of the Method:

Calculating abatement

Abatement is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions achieved by a project. It is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e).

CO2-e is a measure of the warming effect of different greenhouse gases that allows them to be compared to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. It refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that would give the same warming effect as each greenhouse gas, such as methane and nitrous oxide, emitted or stored by an activity.

A project earns ACCUs for abatement it achieves. The net abatement amount for each year is the difference between the herds estimated baseline emissions (minus four per cent) and the herds emissions following implementation of project activities.

The four per cent discount accounts for a variation to emissions due to environmental factors beyond the participants control.

To calculate abatement, you must use the Herd Management Calculator.

Relevant section of the Method:

Reporting requirements

All scheme participants must submit project reports to the Clean Energy Regulator throughout the crediting period of their project.

The time period reported on is called the reporting period. Scheme participants nominate when they will report on their project. For this method, a reporting period may be between 12 months and two years.

In addition to the general reporting and notification requirements of the Act and Rules, the method specifies what information must be included in your report.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Relevant section of the Method:

Record-keeping requirements

Scheme participants must keep records according to the general record-keeping requirements of the Act and Rules.

The method also states that records must be kept for purchased feed if the project activity involved a change to the herds diet and some or all of the feed was purchased.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Relevant section of the Method:

Monitoring requirements

In addition to the general monitoring requirements of the Act, projects must meet specific monitoring requirements in Part 5 of the method.

The scheme participant must monitor each animal in the herd to determine the inputs for the Herd Management calculator listed in schedule 1 and, if applicable, schedule 2 of the method.

Relevant section of the Act:

Relevant section of the Rule:

Relevant section of the Method:


The purpose of an audit is to establish reasonable assurance that abatement achieved and reported on is accurate. Audits are conducted by registered category 2 national greenhouse and energy auditors.

All projects receive an audit schedule when registered and must provide audit reports according to this schedule. A minimum of three audits will be scheduled and additional audits may be triggered. For information on audit requirements see Auditing.

Relevant section of the A​ct:

Relevant section of the Rule:

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