The Australian beef industry is a major contributor to the economy with an estimated annual revenue generation of over seven billion dollars. The tropical state of Queensland accounted for 48% of Australian beef and veal production in 2018. As the third biggest beef exporter in the world, Australia supplies 3% of the world’s beef exports and its agricultural sector accounts for an estimated 13.2% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. About 71% of total agricultural emissions are in the form of methane and nitrous oxide. In this review, an overview of the carbon footprint of the beef cattle production system in northern Australia is presented, with emphasis on the mitigation of greenhouse gases. The review also focuses on the tropical legume, Desmanthus
, one of the more promising nutritional supplements for methane abatement and improvement of animal growth performance. Among the review’s findings is the need to select environmentally well-adapted and vigorous tropical legumes containing tannins that can persistently survive under the harsh northern Australian conditions for driving animal performance, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions. The paper argues that the use of appropriate legumes such as Desmanthus
, is a natural and preferred alternative to the use of chemicals for the abatement of methane emanating from tropical beef cattle production systems. It also highlights current gaps in knowledge and new research opportunities for in vivo
studies on the impact of Desmanthus
on methane emissions of supplemented tropical beef cattle.
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