IT’S NOT THE COW BUT THE HOW! ENVIRONMENTAL CARBON CREDITS TO WA CATTLE STATION

Pictured above: Bulga Downs owner, David McQuie, with RegenCo rangelands advisor, Brett Crook

20 April 2021: Bulga Downs station WA reached a major milestone this month? when it received its first carbon credits and related payments from the Commonwealth Emission Reduction Fund (ERF).

This follows a two-year period of implementing a ‘Human Induced Regeneration’[i]1 carbon project on the cattle property, south of Sandstone in the mid-west region of Western Australia. 

In 2019, the WA State Govt formally consented to WA pastoralists generating carbon credits through regenerating Australian native tree species indigenous to a project’s local area, thanks to the efforts of WA Agriculture Minister, Alanna MacTiernan.  

Following the announcement, Bulga Downs owner, David McQuie and his family were one of the first to look into the benefits of carbon farming on their cattle property. 

“I took my time investigating how Human Induced Regeneration (HIR) practices can raise the long-term productive base of my grazed country, while at the same time delivering a solid commercial return,” said McQuie. 

“After scanning the market for knowledgeable project developers, I formed a partnership with RegenCo, a natural capital management company that worked with us to set up, register and execute the carbon project. 

“RegenCo advised us how best we could improve my cattle herd and the property, at the same time as building in management changes to assist us generate carbon credits.” 

RegenCo’s CEO Tim Moore said: “We formed a true partnership with Bulga Downs, spending the time we needed with Dave and the team to plan and work through the detail of a new pastoral management plan for the family’s 2,870-square-kilometre property.”  

The McQuie family bought the property in 1984 and converted the station from grazing sheep to Angus cattle. 

The property had been a sheep station as far back as 1921. It is primarily on sand-plain country with outcrops of granite and ironstone, with an annual rainfall averaging 225 millimetres. 

Dr Moore said: “Given Bulga Downs’ history, and the fact that the carbon project will run for 25 years, we knew we had to get the project just right. Working in partnership with the family we built the plan together. RegenCo is engaged as the project’s proponent which will relieve the owners of the work involved in running and delivering the carbon credits back to the ERF. 

“In its first two years of operation, the Bulga Downs project created and sold more than 125,000 credits. At today’s market rates, that’s a revenue stream in excess of $2 million. That’s a really positive outcome for Dave, diversifying his income stream while enabling additional development of the property with new pastoral infrastructure to further enhance resilience to dry times. 

“The interest we are seeing from credit buyers and off-takers, reflects a confidence in carbon credits as a base for a long term commercial market. The value is to provide additional financial resources to rangelands food and fibre producers to enable them to be more profitable, productive and resilient. 

“At RegenCo, we passionately believe Australian pastoralists can continue to run cattle while improving the country and generating valuable credits. 

“It’s not the cow but the how!   

“This is a terrific commercial outcome for both the pastoralist and the environment. We are truly excited at the potential across Australia’s rangelands to replicate our approach.”

[i] The human induced regeneration (HIR) method is designed to achieve forest cover by carrying out eligible activities that encourage regeneration of Australian native tree species that are indigenous to a project’s local area.

If you would like find out more information about this project or to speak to RegenCo about how incorporating carbon into your enterprise, please contact RegenCo here.