Meat & Livestock News

Coles Advances Carbon Neutral Beef Programme with Methane-Reducing Feed Additive

Veterinarian animal doctor at cattle farm checking health of cows.

Coles, a leading national supermarket retailer in Australia, is expanding its carbon-neutral beef programme by incorporating a methane-reducing feed additive, Bovaer, into its supply chain. This initiative follows successful trials that demonstrated a reduction in cattle methane emissions by at least 50 per cent without impacting meat quality.

Bovaer, developed by global nutrition and health company DSM Firmenich, is now a key component in Coles’ strategy to lower emissions across its supply chain.

The product, approved by the European Food Safety Authority and available in over 50 countries, works by suppressing the enzyme responsible for methane production in cattle, breaking down naturally in the animal’s digestive process.

Coles began exploring Bovaer’s potential in 2022 through trials at Mort & Co’s Grassdale feedlot and the University of New England. The trials showed no adverse effects on average exit weight, total weight gain, average daily gain, or feed-to-gain ratio.

Additionally, Meat Standards Australia grading parameters, which assess beef quality, tenderness, flavour, and juiciness, indicated no difference in the beef quality from cattle fed with Bovaer.

Encouraged by these results, Coles has introduced Bovaer to some of its beef suppliers, aiming to lower on-farm emissions and reduce its Scope 3 emissions. Maria Crawford, Coles’ Livestock Sustainability & Innovation Manager, expressed the company’s commitment to expanding the use of this innovative supplement among more Coles Finest certified carbon-neutral beef suppliers.

Warren Barnett, a Coles Finest certified carbon-neutral beef supplier from Associated Feedlot near Mathoura NSW, has been using Bovaer since May. He views the supplement as a crucial element in his business’s sustainability journey, noting its positive environmental impact and consistent beef quality.

Dr Steve Wiedemann, Principal Scientist and Managing Director of Integrity Ag & Environment, has collaborated with Coles for three years to lower the emission intensity of beef.

He highlighted Bovaer’s effectiveness, with research supporting mitigation rates of at least 50 per cent and up to 85 per cent in diets used for cattle in the Coles Finest certified carbon-neutral beef programme.

Mark van Nieuwland, DSM Vice President, emphasised Bovaer’s decade-long development and its proven efficacy under Australian conditions, as demonstrated in the large-scale commercial feedlot trial at Mort & Co’s Grassdale feedlot.

He expressed optimism about the potential for Australian beef to be lower in emissions while maintaining its renowned quality.

The Coles Finest certified carbon-neutral beef range, launched in Victoria in April 2022 and rolled out nationally from April this year, includes various cuts like rump medallions, eye fillet, porterhouse, and scotch fillet. The range, certified carbon-neutral from farm to shelf in accordance with the Australian Government’s Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard, has recently expanded to include certified carbon-neutral pork.

This initiative by Coles represents a significant step towards more environmentally sustainable practices in the Australian beef industry, offering consumers environmentally focused options while maintaining the high quality of Australian beef.