Responsible Livestock Management for Soil Carbon Projects

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Livestock is a key addition to regenerative land management, so how can you effectively integrate livestock into a soil carbon project?


There’s a lot of beef around the integration of livestock into land management strategies.


However, whilst livestock emissions and overgrazing should definitely be considered, we believe that when managed responsibly and holistically, livestock can be utilised in a number of practices to help improve soil health, sequester carbon and increase the resilience of your land. 


Use of Livestock in the ACCU Scheme’s Soil Carbon Methods

There are a couple of ways where changes in livestock management can play a role in building organic soil carbon. 


The Clean Energy Regulator states that an eligible “new” activity for your soil carbon project is the alteration of stocking rates (number of livestock) or the duration and/or intensity of grazing (read more about eligible soil carbon projects here). 


It’s important to note there isn’t a “one size fits all” technique to integrate livestock into a property’s land management strategy. Responsible livestock management involves being observant about the growth pattern and stage of pastures, to not over or under graze the area. With the effects of climate, species, and resources, each farm will have different ideal livestock management strategies which evolve with time.


Here at CFF, we always suggest chatting to your local agronomist or farm advisor to nut out a solid land management strategy that includes activities that are best suited to your operation.


Responsible Livestock Management in Action


Example One: Rotational Grazing in the Southern Highland of New South Wales


The first example looks at a property with a livestock grazing area of 50-acre that supported around 40 head of cattle. The only permanent fence structures that exist on the property followed the boundary lines, whilst all other fencing was composed of ring top posts and tumble wheel wire. 


Utilising an intense rotational grazing structure, small paddocks across a large area of perennial pasture were drawn with electric wire, which allowed for the change in the herd’s location every 1-8 days depending on the area, weather and how quickly the cattle grazed. 


This process, where grazing is followed by a rest period, allows perennials to replenish their root reserves, along with other holistic management techniques, ensuring the farm creates more organic matter in the soil and microbial diversity than it depletes. MAIA Grazing has some great info on rotational grazing. 


Example Two: A biodynamic property in the Otway Region in Victoria


Here, the landowners had regenerated 200 acres of steep and significantly degraded farmland back to its sub-tropical rainforest heritage. 


Most research focuses on the integration of cattle into crop and pasture systems, however on this property, nestled in a valley above Apollo Bay, around 20 sheep are being used as part of the regeneration process. 


Running sheep enables the owners to manage weeds, increase soil organic matter, remove fertiliser inputs, increase soil carbon, spread seed, and provide wool and small amounts of organic produce to work as an additional income stream. 


Benefits of Livestock Integration

How integrating livestock can work for your soil carbon project:

  • Improved soil fertility (adds nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients)
  • Grazing of cover crops whilst lightly incorporating manure into the soil
  • Increase in soil organic matter through manure, trampling, root die-off, increased biomass production
  • More soil organic matter means:
  • A well-fed soil food web
  • Decrease in crop diseases
  • Increased water-holding capacity, conservation and drought resistance
  • Reduced erosion and compaction
  • Higher levels of carbon sequestration
  • Improved soil fertility = greater production and profits

Keen to read a little further on how integrating livestock can assist your soil carbon project? Check out these awesome resources to learn more. 


Ready to find out more?

Explore our range of educational resources in our Carbon Farming Education Hub where we frequently publish educational articles, webinars, and guidebooks. 


When you’re ready to explore the feasibility of undertaking a carbon project on your property, email us at or give us a bell at (08) 6835 1140 to be connected with one of our project facilitators.

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