November 18, 2019


Vilofoss part of research on seaweed that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cows



A new Danish project, Climate Feed - with the participation of DLG and Vilofoss, among others - aims to develop a feed supplement with seaweed which could reduce cows' methane emissions by up to 30%.

The four-year project is set to establish whether Danish farmers could benefit from using a special feed supplement made of seaweed, which can reduce the development of methane gas in the cows' stomachs. The project's participants include DLG and SEGES as key partners, as well researchers from the Copenhagen University and Aarhus University, and dairy company Naturmælk as one of the project's contributors.

The Danish Technological Institute is heading the research, supported by Innovation Fund Denmark.

"We aim at reducing methane emissions by 30%, but who knows, we might even exceed this. The way I see it, farmers in Denmark are very accepting to change, so it is important that we conduct research in this field," said DLG product manager (cattle feed) Birgitte Marie Løvendahl Raun.

The 30% reduction target matches very well the Danish Agriculture and Food Council's vision to make food production climate-neutral by 2050.

"This is one way of creating even more climate-efficient cows. And with a successful project, we will have a fantastic and innovative outcome. Furthermore, I am certain that farmers in and outside Denmark will become very anxious to use the solution, if it's also financially viable," said the CEO of Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Anne Arhnung.

Danish farmers are already using seaweed as feed as a means of reducing the cows' methane emissions. However, none of the current solutions available are able to cut emissions by as much as 30%. Hence, the project's seaweed supplement would be a major step forward. Technically, the antioxidants and tannins in seaweed hinder the development of methane.

The aim of Climate Feed is to develop methods for cultivating, harvesting and processing seaweed into a finished product, such as powder or pellets, for farmers to add to the feed.

The product developed from the project must have a well-proven and stable content of the active substances that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from cows, without having a negative impact on milk yield and flavour/quality of the milk.

Additionally, the seaweed is set to be processed in Denmark by Vilofoss and DLG. In cooperation with Aarhus University, the company Dansk Tang will also take part in the selection of top-quality seaweed types and cultivation methods.

Aarhus University will determine the type of seaweed required and develop methods of cultivation in the seas surrounding Nordic countries. In addition, Aarhus University will carry out trials at laboratory and pilot levels, as well as investigate the environmental impact and financial aspect.

DLG will produce the finalised vitamin/mineral/seaweed product and distribute via the factories located in and outside Europe.

Vilofoss will develop and produce the methane-reducing seaweed ingredients. The DLG Group subsidiary is in charge of turning the seaweed ingredients into a finished product.

-  Vilofoss