Environmental management for cattle feedlots

If you are operating a cattle feedlot in Queensland, you must comply with Australian and Queensland laws and regulations.

A feedlot is defined as keeping more than 150 standard cattle units in a yard or enclosure, where the animals are fed entirely by hand or mechanically and cannot graze.

These activities are not considered to be intensive animal feedlotting:

Intensive animal feedlotting 150 or less standard cattle units does not require an environmental authority. However you may require construction and operation approvals from local government or other authorities.


Cattle feedlots above 150 standard cattle units in Queensland are environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) under the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019.

To legally operate, you need:

These approvals contain environmental management conditions.

Apply for an environmental authority

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) issues EAs for cattle feedlots.

Use the licences and permits finder to find out what you need to include in your application.

Apply for an EA by:

Register as a biosecurity entity

You must register your property with Biosecurity Queensland.

Local or site-specific requirements

Before purchasing land for a cattle feedlot, check with your local council for any environmental management requirements such as separation distances from houses.

You can also contact DAF to check if there are any site-specific requirements.

National guidelines

The National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia (PDF, 1.2MB) and National Beef Cattle Feedlot Environmental Code of Practice (PDF, 450KB) outline how to operate feedlots with minimum environmental impact.

This includes:

  • selecting a site
  • complying with approval conditions for feedlot construction
  • managing construction-related environmental impacts
  • designing controlled drainage systems
  • composting manure and carcasses
  • using effluent and manure.

Manage environmental impacts

You must consider your general environmental duty and incorporate management strategies to prevent or minimise environmental harm to:

  • surface water
  • groundwater
  • community amenity
  • the natural environment.