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Feeding Cows Seaweed?

≈80% less methane emissions

If cattle are fed a small amount of red seaweed it can reduce methane emissions from their gut microbes by as much as 80%.

According to continued research by Penn State University, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, supplementing cows’ diets with “Asparagopsis taxiformis” seaweed can reduce emissions by ~80%.

With farm livestock responsible for 14.5% of human greenhouse gas emissions this is a big deal. What more, the microbes in their guts turn excess food energy into methane which has warming potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.

While in a lot of developed countries demand for meat products is waning, the growing global middle class means that demand for meat and dairy looks certain to continue rising. This means innovations like this are critical for combating climate change.

This idea is more than just research, companies like Greener Grazing (in Australia) have began mass-producing the seaweed. To cater to the world’s population of cows we need 200m tonnes every year. The CEO of the company that is responsible for Greener Grazing said “Applying this globally would be the equivalent of taking every car off the road”.

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