Meet Australian cattle & sheep farmers, discover 100 research projects and learn more about what is important to the sustainability of the industry

What is methane?

  • Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that is estimated to be 25 times the potency of carbon dioxide by the International Panel on Climate Change.
  • Ruminant animals, such as sheep and cattle, produce methane due to their unique digestive system.
  • The carbon stored in plants is consumed by livestock when they graze. Most of it is then released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide when the animals breathe it out and as methane when ruminants such as sheep and cattle digest their feed.
  • Ruminant animals are able to convert low quality grass to high quality, nutrient dense protein, a role which other species, such as pigs and chickens, cannot perform
  • Methane in the atmosphere is eventually transformed to carbon dioxide and water. Carbon dioxide is then re-absorbed by plants as they grow and the cycle continues

Other sources of methane include:

  • Wetlands
  • Termites
  • Rice growing
  • Fossil fuel extraction
  • Landfill
  • Industrial processes.
  • Mining