An Australian research company born out of the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is promoting using native seaweed to reduce methane emissions from livestock.
Australian scientists have found that a genus of seaweed native to Australian coastal waters could provide a global solution to methane emissions from livestock.
Scientists at CSIRO have developed a cost-effective patented feed ingredient. A newly established company, FutureFeed, is taking it to the commercial market.
FutureFeed’s solution uses a specific type of red seaweed (‘Asparagopsis’) that massively reduces methane emissions. Studies have also suggested increased growth in cattle and sheep.
Methane from livestock burps and farts is a greenhouse gas 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Direct livestock emissions account for around 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Feedlot trials in beef cattle using less than 1% of FutureFeed’s Asparagopsis showed a reduction in methane production of more than 95%.
The potential climate impacts from this product are unprecedented. If just 10% of global livestock producers adopted FutureFeed as a feed ingredient, it would be like taking 100 million cars off the world’s roads.
A number of groups worldwide are currently establishing commercial-scale production of Asparagopsis. Researchers are growing the seaweed on open water line culture and in ponds in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Ireland.