Can Seaweed Cut Methane Emissions on Dairy Farms?

Professor Kebreab
Professor Ermias Kebreab with the UC Davis Department of Animal Science is conducting research with dairy cows to find out if seaweed will reduce methane emissions from cattle. Results are promising, but not final. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

By Diane Nelson, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering

"Seaweed may be the super food dairy cattle need to reduce the amount of methane they burp into the atmosphere. Early results from research at the University of California, Davis, indicate that just a touch of the ocean algae in cattle feed could dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions from California’s 1.8 million dairy cows.

“This is a very surprising and promising development,” said animal science professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair Ermias Kebreab inside the UC Davis dairy barn where he is testing seaweed efficacy with 12 Holstein cows. “Results are not final, but so far we are seeing substantial emission reductions. This could help California’s dairy farmers meet new methane-emission standards and sustainably produce the dairy products we need to feed the world.”

Kebreab’s project is the first to test seaweed on live dairy cattle anywhere in the world.

His team will publish preliminary findings in late June and begin further tests with additional cattle later this summer."

Read the full story at UC Davis News.

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