October 31, 2019


US scientists research effect of seaweed on cattle greenhouse gas emissions


Scientists from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine, US join emerging global research on the effects of a seaweed-based diet for cattle, reported CBS WGME-TV.


The study will be conducted in collaboration with the Maine Seaweed Council, University of Vermont (UVM), University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Colby College.


The council approached Bigelow Laboratory, offering Maine seaweed species to reproduce current overseas studies on the effects of seaweed as a cattle feed additive to reduce its methane emissions.


In early 2020, the Maine Seaweed Council will selectively pick Maine-native seaweed for the study, which will be transported to UVM for more tests. Shortlisted samples will be used on cattle at the Wolfe's Neck Centre and UNH by summer 2020. The results will be studied and research processes refined in end 2020, for the study to begin once more in 2021. The project will take two years to complete.


Modern systems will track cattle methane emissions as they feed, as well as how often cattle will feed and the quantity of feed consumed.


On top of the emissions study, researchers will also study if a seaweed-based diet will amplify milk production in dairy cattle.


Colby College will study the macroeconomic effects of introducing a new product like seaweed as cattle feed to the market, in addition to how much its price point will affect US farmers. 


The study was granted a US$3 million grant by the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund. Cattle from the Wolfe's Neck Centre in Freeport were used for the study.


The US Environmental Protection Agency stated that livestock emit one third of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the country.



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