Words by

Mort & Co. Team


13 February 2023



Mort & Co is helping lead Australia’s largest commercial feedlot trial to reduce methane emissions from cattle, assisting the company to be on target with Australia Meat & Livestock’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.


Mort & Co has partnered with supermarket company, Coles and DSM, the company responsible for developing feed additive Bovaer, to conduct the trial at Grassdale Feedlot near Dalby in Western Queensland. Bovaer is designed to go directly into mixed rations, and acts as an enzyme inhibitor, blocking the last step in the methane production chain in an animal, before breaking it down into two natural compounds. A study conducted at the University of New England this year found the use of Bovaer resulted in a 90% reduction in methane emissions. The trial at Grassdale Feedlot will be the first in Australia to test the feed additive in a real-world, large-scale commercial feedlot of industry size and scale.
“We approached Coles because they were purchasing the same type of high-quality cattle each week with a specific weight range, which provided excellent penning conditions to conduct a trial of this magnitude.”

Brett Campbell.

Mort & Co General Manager Livestock and Logistics

All data and MSA grading results will be analysed, while specialised nutritionists from Queensland’s Bovine Dynamics will write up a research paper outlining the findings of the study to be then published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. Mort & Co’s CEO, Stephen O’Brien says the trial will provide ground-breaking research which could change the future of lot feeding across Australia. “This is an exciting project for the Mort & Co team and upholds one of our strongest values - innovation. It is one of a number of trials the company is undertaking because we are invested in changing our environmental footprint moving forward, and certainly this trial combined with other projects, looks set to keep us on track to be carbon neutral by 2030.” In the past 10 years, Bovaer has been tested extensively in 13 different countries, achieving registration in the European Union, Chile and Brazil and has 50 pair-reviewed technical articles on it. Coles National Beef Procurement Manager, Steve Rennie says the science behind Bovaer was encouraging from the start. “Coles is excited to be a part of this trial which could provide important insights and data to help us better understand ways we can reduce emissions in cattle farming.”

The cattle will be purchased and fed at Mort & Co’s Grassdale Feedlot and processed at the Teys Australia Beenleigh processing plant, Queensland. Project Director at DSM, Nathan Bird, says the safety and efficacy of Bovaer has been proven around the world, and it is a highly effective product. “A bit more than one teaspoon per animal, per day is all that is required. The effect is immediate. It takes about 20 minutes for Bovaer to work once it’s consumed by the animal and the methane mitigation is substantial – as proven by the University of New England.” Livestock and Logistics GM, Brett Campbell says it’s exciting to think the program could be rolled out to have a more extensive impact. “The proof will be in the data once its correlated, but we would be considering feeding it to a wider cohort of cattle, and then also take the results to our producer partners to be used in grazing cattle.”
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