Scientists are combing Ireland’s west coast for seaweed to feed to cattle and sheep after research showed it could stop them breathing out so much climate-warming methane.
The project, coordinated by a state agriculture body, is tapping into the country’s growing seaweed harvesting industry, which is seeking new markets as it revives centuries-old traditions…
About 20 species of seaweed, most from Ireland’s windswept Atlantic coast, have been tested by researchers while dozens more have been collected by the project’s partners in Norway, Canada, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Scientists in the United States and Australia have already demonstrated dramatic methane-reducing qualities from one seaweed type – Asparagopsis – when small quantities are added to the feedstock…But they have not yet managed to scale up production of the seaweed, which is not easy to grow in northwest Europe.
The Irish project aims to find abundant native seaweeds to use instead, even though the researchers admit they are unlikely to match the reduction in emissions of more than 80 percent shown with Asparagopsis.
Researchers are also working on how to integrate the feed additives into Ireland’s predominantly grass-based cattle farming system.
Bet they’ll find something local. RTFA and especially check out the gear used to isolate and measure methane production from the cattle. Modern science rocks!