Modelling the potential of birdsfoot trefoil to reduce methane emissions and increase production

Whole farm systems analysis from the WFSAM project

Researchers modelled the potential emission, production and economic outcomes for wool and lamb enterprises incorporating birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)  – a legume containing condensed tannins that inhibit the formation of methane in the rumen – into their pastures.

The modelling showed that although birdsfoot trefoil reduced methane emissions and increased stock productivity through increased wool growth, liveweight gain and fecundity, in most wool enterprise scenarios the extra income did not cover the cost of pasture establishment. There was potential for extra profit in prime lamb enterprises but problems with persistence first need to be overcome.

Primary researchers


Browne N, Behrendt R, Kingwell R, Eckard R (2013). Modelling the potential of birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) to reduce methane emissions and increase production on wool and prime lamb farm enterprises. Animal Production Science, 55, 1097-1105,

More information

Research Theme


Project Status


Project Leadership

Dr Christie Ho
  • Dr Christie Ho
  • Senior Research Scientist
  • Agriculture Victoria

Richard Eckard
  • Professor Richard Eckard
  • Director
  • Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre

Richard Rawnsley
  • Dr Richard Rawnsley
  • Senior Research Scientist
  • Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

Fact Sheet

Project Team

  • Dr Brendan Cullen
    University of Melbourne
  • Dr Matthew Harrison
    Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
  • Dr Alexandria Sinnett
    Agriculture Victoria
  • Karen Christie
    Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
  • Natalie Doran-Browne
    University of Melbourne

Funding Organisations

  • Agriculture Victoria
  • Australian Wool Innovation Limited
  • Dairy Australia
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Meat and Livestock Australia
  • Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
  • University of Melbourne

Collaborating Organisations

  • Agriculture Victoria
  • Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture