Joint media release: Methane Emissions Reduction in Livestock (MERiL) Program

The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The Albanese Government is pleased to announce $5 million in successful grant applications to support R&D for low-emissions feed supplements for grazing animals.

The 11 successful projects will receive between $250, 000 and $700,000 each under Stage 2 of the Government’s $29 million Methane Emissions Reduction in Livestock (MERiL) Program.

There is increasing demand globally for low carbon products, and the Government recognises the leadership of Australian livestock industries to reduce emissions in the sector already, including Meat and Livestock Australia’s investment of over $50 million to the task.

Methane emissions from livestock are the largest source of greenhouse gas in the agriculture sector and make up around 10 per cent of Australia’s total annual emissions.

R&D of low emissions feed technology for livestock has skyrocketed in recent years, however scaling up production and adoption of these supplements remains a challenge, especially in grazing systems (rather than feedlot) which accounts for 95% of Australian livestock.

Today’s announcement is about finding the technology needed to meet this challenge. It comes in addition to $8 million for the seaweed industry to support commercialisation of the livestock feed supplement Asparagopsis.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen said the Australian agriculture sector is charging ahead in developing the technology needed to reduce livestock emissions, which the sector knows is critical for long-term competitiveness.

"The Albanese Government is pleased to continue strong collaboration with the livestock industry, in announcing $5 million today to further assist the technology development we need to keep our regions strong over coming decades.”

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Murray Watt said the Albanese Government is working with our agricultural industry to help fund projects that will assist them in reaching their carbon neutral targets.

"We are proud to be working on practical solutions that will make a difference.”

The successful applicants include:

• Sea Forest ($383,657) in partnership with Dickson Ag, Ruminati, Australian Agricultural Company and the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries Parks Water and Environment, will develop and assess feed supplements to deliver methane reduction from compounds in Asparagopsis oil.

• University of Melbourne ($340,818) in partnership with Endhill, Feedworks, Rumin8, The Product Makers, Gretals Australia and Seascape Restorations Australia, will test different delivery mechanisms (such as Lucerne, liquid feeds, loose licks and lick blocks) for a variety of methane-reducing feed supplements in grazing animals and measure emissions reduction, productivity gains and potential low-emission supplement residues in animal products.

• The Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia ($695,909) in partnership with DIT Agtech, Rumin8, Feedworks, Australian Wool Innovation and the University of Western Australia, will adapt and evaluate a range of existing systems to deliver methane-reducing feed additives to grazing sheep.

• The University of New England ($603,050) in partnership with Feedworks will develop a novel paddock solution to deliver methane-reducing supplements to grazing sheep.

• The Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions ($615,000) in partnership with Terragen Biotech and Fonterra Co-operative Group, will evaluate automated feeding of a methane-mitigating probiotic to grazing lambs and dairy cows.

• Mort and Co. Lot Feeders ($367,186) in partnership with CSIRO, MultiCube, AACO and DSM Nutritional Products Australia, will demonstrate delivery of the methane-reducing feed additive 3-NOP in the form of a fodder cube for grazing animals.

• Direct Injection Systems ($367,219) in partnership with Central Queensland University and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, will build on their existing water injection technology for delivering feed supplements to incorporate methane-reducing compounds for reducing emissions in livestock grazing systems.

• Mort and Co. Lot Feeders ($387,667) will demonstrate the feasibility of a holistic technology solution for feeding nitrates to grazing cattle for methane reduction.

• Loam Bio ($653,750) will deliver a cost-effective, scalable, adaptable and highly resilient low-emission feed supplement for grazing animals.

• Macquarie University ($324,864) in partnership with Ternes Scientific and 4 Season Company, will test low-cost and naturally sourced methane-reducing substances for incorporation into lick blocks for grazing livestock.

• Department of Regional NSW ($250,000) in partnership with Australian Wool Innovation will evaluate the feasibility of using radio frequency identification technologies to improve methane-reduction supplement design and delivery in grazing sheep and test the use of common delivery systems such as lick feeders.