A bit of seaweed in cattle feed could reduce methane emissions from beef cattle by as much as 82 percent, according to new findings from researchers at the University of California, Davis. The results, published on 17 March 2021 in the journal PLOS ONE, could pave the way for the sustainable production of livestock throughout the world.
"We now have sound evidence that seaweed in cattle diet is effective at reducing greenhouse gases and that the efficacy does not diminish over time," said Ermias Kebreab, professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair of the Department of Animal Science and director of the World Food Center. Kebreab conducted the study along with his Ph.D. graduate student Breanna Roque.
"This could help farmers sustainably produce the beef and dairy products we need to feed the world," Roque added.Over the course of five months last summer, Kebreab and Roque added scant amounts of seaweed to the diet of 21 beef cattle and tracked their weight gain and methane emissions. Cattle that consumed doses of about 80 grams (3 ounces) of seaweed gained as much weight as their herd mates while burping out 82 percent less methane into the atmosphere. Kebreab and Roque are building on their earlier work with dairy cattle, which was the world's first experiment reported that used seaweed in cattle.
(Source: Agriculture and Food News, ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com)