There is potential for the veterinary profession to play a positive role in reducing the intensity and overall production of green-house gasses (GHG) from cattle.
Interventions to reduce GHG production include reductions in land clearing and burning of grasslands and increased carbon sequestration in soils and trees. Increased efficiencies of production through intensified feeding and enteric modification have markedly reduced intensity of GHG emissions for cattle. Improved reproductive performance reduces intensity of GHG emissions, especially in beef production. Feeds and technologies that reduce GHG production and intensity include improved pastures, grain feeding, dietary lipids, nitrates, ionophores, seaweed, 3-NOP, hormonal growth promotants in beef, and improved diets for peri-parturient dairy cattle.
There is a need to provide better environments for cattle. Cattle are susceptible to heat stress and ameliorating interventions include tree and shelter belts, shade, housing, cooling with fans and water and dietary manipulations.
Conclusion: Numerous interventions can reduce GHG emissions and intensity from cattle. There are opportunities to increase carbon capture and maintain biodiversity in Australia’s extensive rangelands, but these require quantification and application. We can reduce the intensity of CH4 emissions for cattle in Australia and simultaneously improve their well-being.