Researcher says second study shows seaweed can greatly reduce cow CO2 emissions

Another study shows feeding a small amount of seaweed reduces cattle methane emissions almost 82%.  

Dr. Ermias Kebreab chairs the University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science and directs the World Food Center.  He says the seaweed inhibits an enzyme in the cow’s digestive system that contributes to methane production. He says, “The more seaweed that is in the feed, the more reduction that you are able to observe.”

Kebreab says scientists are now studying ways to farm the type of seaweed called Asparagopsis Taxiformis, since there is not enough of it in the wild for broad application as livestock feed. “There is a tradition of growing seaweed but this particular seaweed is different and we’ve learned more about it, and that research is going on right now and there are a couple of places in the U.S., particularly in Hawaii that are studying this and trying to scale up the production of the seaweed.”

A herd of beef cattle were fed three ounces of seaweed in their ration for nearly five months with different types of diets.  Kebreab says his team found the cattle gained as much weight as their conventionally fed herd mates, and the seaweed did not lose efficacy over time.  The research also found no differences in flavor of the beef from seaweed-fed steers, like earlier research where seaweed had no impact on the taste of milk.

Kebreab says there were differences between the recent beef study and the earlier dairy cattle study.  “When we did the dairy test, it was just really a proof-of-concept, and we used a species of seaweed that didn’t have high levels of the active ingredient, so it wasn’t as powerful as the one that we used for the beef cattle.”

California lawmakers passed regulations requiring the state’s dairy farmers to cut methane emissions 40% by 2030, and Kebreab says seaweed in cattle diets can potentially reduce methane emissions from cattle more than that.

Dr. Ermias Kebreab from the University of California-Davis discusses the latest seaweed cattle feed research with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!

Brownfield Ag News