Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search
Go Green banner ads

Published on Sunday, July 30, 2017

A New Diet for Cows May Decrease Methane Gas Emissions

[AMAZING]

A New Diet for Cows May Decrease Methane Gas Emissions

A new study has found that by changing a cow’s diet slightly we can drastically decrease the amount of methane gas they release. So what is this secret ingredient that is able to change cow’s emission levels? Seaweed.


The Study

Researchers at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia in conjunction with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have discovered that a type of Australian red algae can reduce methane emissions from cows. Rocky De Nys, a professor of aquaculture, and his team found that adding 2% of this dried seaweed to a cow’s diet reduces methane emissions in that cow by 99%.


The seaweed used is a species of red algae called Asparagopsis taxiformis. It grows naturally off the coast of Queensland. When digested, this seaweed produces a compound known as Bromoform (CHBR3). Bromoform then interacts with enzymes in the stomach to halt the production of methane gas before it is released into the atmosphere.


Why Is Methane Gas So Dangerous?

Methane gas is of particular concern for researchers and scientists because of how dangerous it is in our environment. Over a 100 year period, methane gas is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Cows release 70 to 120 kilograms of methane gas every year. In fact, burps from cows are responsible for 26% of the United States’ total methane emissions.


Currently, the US is fourth in the world in cattle production following China, Brazil and India. With 1.3 to 1.5 billion cows on the planet, it’s obvious that this methane gas issue is a huge problem.


How Seaweed Became the Answer to Our Methane Problems

The effects of seaweed on cows’ diets was first studied in 2005 almost by accident. Joe Dorgan, a fairy farmer in Prince Edward Island, Canada, noticed that some of his herd would snack on washed-up seaweed. The cows that did graze on seaweed were healthier and more productive than the rest of the herd. Dorgan began feeding all of his cows a mixture of the seaweed. He found that this new feed saved him money and resulted in longer reproductive periods for his herd.


Six years later, Dorgan sold his farm and began selling seaweed-infused cow feed full-time. North Atlantic Organics, his cow feed company, uses hand raking and solar drying to produce their seaweed in order to reduce their carbon footprint and not include additives in their product.


Long before Dorgan discovered the benefits of seaweed, Ancient Greeks in 100 BC fed their animals seaweed. Farmers in Iceland have also experimented using kelp and algae in feeding their livestock. With cows, they noticed an increase in milk yields and overall healthier cattle.


In 2014, Rob Kinley and Alan Fredeen, two Canadian researchers, confirmed what Joe Dorgan, Ancient Greeks and Icelandic farmers already knew - seaweed is beneficial for cows. In addition to the health and reproductive benefits, Kinley and Fredeen discovered that “feeding seaweeds and macroalgal products has been shown to reduce enteric methane emission from rumen fermentation.”


When De Nys began his research in Australia, he invited Kinley to join him. In their research, De Nys and Kinley tested 20 different species of seaweed. They found that methane could be reduced by up to 50 percent. However, they found that this reduction in methane gas required large amounts of seaweed that might negatively affect the cow’s digestion. But the discovery of Asparagopsis taxiformis red algae changed those results - only 2% of algae was needed for a 99% methane emission reduction.


The Future of Seaweed in Cow Feed

Unfortunately, there are a few roadblocks to introducing widespread red algae infused cow feed. Many dairy farms are located inland, nowhere near large supplies of seaweed. The red algae in question is also harder to come by. Researchers estimated that 15,000 acres of commercial seaweed farms would be required to get enough red algae to feed just 10% of Australia’s cattle. So while seaweed harvesting could work well on a farm by farm basis with those located near the ocean, there are major problems in widespread distribution.


 

Rate this article:
No rating
Comments ()Number of views (260)
Print

Search Jobs

Calender

«August 2017»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
311
1699

Car Accident on the Oregon Highway Turns into a Slimy Mess

You won't believe your eyes when you watch this footage of a highway accident gone slimy! An especially fascinating video.

Read more
2
1700

The Overwhelming Problem of Plastics

Plastic is one of the world's most used and most versatile substances. But new research shows that this reliance is becoming a major problem. 

Read more
3
1701

Goat on a Rampage Smashes Glass Doors

Offices in Colorado beware! There's a door-smashing goat on the loose and this security footage proves it. Have a look for yourself. 

Read more
4
1702

Tiny Houses the Answer to Our Environmental Problems?

The Tiny House trend is growing at a rapid pace. And when you take a look at all the benefits these dwellings have to offer, it isn't hard to see why.

Read more
56
7
1703

Combating Climate Change with Sustainable Seaweed Farming

You may not realize it but seaweed is actually one of the most underutilized sustainable agriculture products in the world! Take a look. 

Read more
8
1704

When Push Comes to Shove, A Family of Elephants will Save the Day

Nothing's tighter than the bond of a family of elephants. And when you see how this herd reacts to a fallen baby, you won't be able to say otherwise. 

Read more
9
1705

Meat Industry Held Responsible for Massive Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico

An record-setting dead zone has just been confirmed in the Gulf of Mexico and it looks like the bulk of the blame rests on the meat industry. 

Read more
10
1706

Microscopic Tardigrade Considered the Most Indestructible Animal on Earth

Have you heard of an animal that's practically indestructible, impervious to extreme temperatures and can even live in space? That's the tardigrade!

Read more
11
1707

Deforested Amazon Land Becomes Pastures and Slaughterhouses

A new study shows that as much as 90% of Amazon deforestation will be attributed to just 128 slaughterhouses from 2016-2018. 

Read more
1213
1708

Air Pollution Deaths on the Rise Thanks to Climate Change

A new study shows that a quarter of a million deaths will be attributable to air pollution caused by climate change by 2100. 

Read more
14
1709

Why Might a Cardinal Go Out of Its Way to Feed Goldfish?

Motherly love from a cardinal to a goldfish? Who knew there could be so much kindness in the animal kingdom?

Read more
151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910

Category

Categories

    Help Us Go Green
      
    Help Us Go Green