One step closer to carbon neutral cattle

 

The Cattle Site

15 May 2020

 

New research shows that supplementing cattle diets with red seaweed reduces enteric methane emissions by 98 percent while improving productivity measures – without causing negative side-effects.

 

A new feed trial published in the Journal of Cleaner Production finds that including Asparagopsis taxiformis (a species of red seaweed) in cattle diets leads to a dramatic reduction in enteric methane emissions. The researchers recorded a 98 percent reduction in enteric methane when high-grain cattle diets were supplemented with A taxiformis at 0.2 percent. Though this result is encouraging for environmental reasons, the researchers also noted that Asparagopsis supplementation significantly improves productivity measures without causing negative side-effects or decreasing meat quality.

 

Since this study’s design emulates intensive feedlot conditions, the researchers demonstrated that it was possible to essentially eliminate enteric methane in a greenhouse gas-intensive production system. The researchers estimated that if Asparagopsis was adopted by 20 percent of the beef and dairy markets, it could remove up to 15 percent of global enteric methane emissions per year.

 

Despite the study’s small sample size (20 steers), the researchers are building on previous in vitro and in vivo studies of Asparagopsis that showed dramatic reductions in enteric methane from dairy cattle and sheep. Though some questions remain over inclusion levels for forage-based diets, the researchers call for investment and commercial cultivation of A taxiformis. The seaweed is the most promising ruminant antimethanogenic agent to date – adopting it could help cattle production move past emissions targets and into carbon neutrality.

 

Background ...

 

The study ...

 

Initial results ...

 

Key conclusions ...

 

more, including link to full research proposal

http://www.thecattlesite.com/news/55302/one-step-closer-to-carbon-neutral-cattle/