Fonterra Expands Seaweed Trials for Methane Reduction

Over the past two years 900 dairy cows on a Tasmanian farm have been fed small amounts of asparagopsis seaweed to examine its methane reduction potential in grass-fed farming. The results have been promising at each stage and trials are now expanding.

Fonterra has teamed up with Australian company Sea Forest who have recently purchased another 30ha farm to dramatically increase their seaweed production. Asparagopsis is common and native to Tasmanian and NZ waters with Sea Forest being the first to cultivate it commercially both at sea and on land. Fonterra is expanding trials over three additional farms.

From laboratory trials already carried out it is estimated that seaweed has the potential to reduce methane by up to 80%.  These promising results now need to be tested in a ‘real world’ situation to see how seaweed can be used in a way that is safe for cows, safe for consumers and to ensure there is no impact on milk taste or quality. How the supplement can be used on a commercial scale is yet to be discovered. If further trials are successful Fonterra farmers will have the first access to the commercial product.

Another interesting and innovative way the agricultural industry is tackling climate change.


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