Finding the $$$ for Asparagopsis to Save the Day

Seagriculture USA 2024
Asparagopsis

Pressure from Australia’s Federal Government is ramping up for the development of methane reducing feed additives. Photo credit: BeefCentral.com

As more farmers become aware of the claims that asparagopsis seaweed can drastically decrease ruminant-generated methane emissions, it is interesting to monitor the progress in Australia, where much of the early research was performed.

Eric Barker writes in AgCarbon Central that pressure is currently ramping up on the development of methane reducing feed additives as the Federal Government pledges to reduce its methane emissions by 30 percent in the next decade.

The non-binding pledge is for an “absolute reduction” in emissions, meaning methane emissions cannot be offset. Australia’s Federal Government is insisting that the livestock industry will not face any taxes or herd reducing measures and has described it as complimentary to the industry’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.

But the reliance on seaweed feed additives has been clear, with the Government committing $8 million to support the commercialization of Asparagopsis and $5 million to develop technologies to deliver low emission feed supplements to grazing animals.

With the 2030 deadline a little over seven years away, University of Melbourne professor Richard Eckard said significantly more funding was needed if there was to be widespread use of the supplement in grazing systems. He said the government investment should be more like $50 million.

Feedlots are emerging as the most eligible candidate for asparagopsis with commercial trials already underway. But Dr. Eckard said widespread use in feedlots would not be enough to achieve the 30% reduction. “If you can imagine a bar chart of where methane comes from, the biggest bar is the beef industry, the second biggest is the sheep industry, the third biggest is dairy — and feedlots don’t even show up.”

Meanwhile, the dairy industry has been one of the biggest opponents of the pledge, with Australian Dairy Farmers saying it is too early to bank on seaweed. But Dr. Eckard said it had the potential for using the feed additives effectively.

“Dairy accounts for about a third of Australia’s livestock emissions and farmers have the opportunity to feed cattle twice a day when they come in for milking,” he said. “The average dairy farmer could knock out half their methane emissions tomorrow if the incentive was there.”

Dr. Eckard points out that early life programming has massive potential, and it just needs funding. “That’s basically the notion that rumen behavior is a product of its upbringing. Whatever the calves inherit from their parents at the time of birth, through to weaning, seems to be the methane they produce for the rest of their lives. This is where the research needs to land.”

All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint articles in their entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact david@algaeplanet.com. Algae Planet accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Seagriculture USA 2024
AlgaeMetrics
Contact Phil Ganz

Subscribe

Breaking-News

  • July 17, 2024: A study from the University of New Hampshire has found that integrating farmed shrimp with oysters and seaweed in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) systems significantly reduces nitrogen levels. This could make shrimp farming more responsible and potentially support the growth of the U.S. industry. READ MORE...
  • July 15, 2024: Atlantic Sea Farms, a Maine-based leader in farmed seaweed, has harvested a record-breaking 1.3 million pounds of farmed seaweed in the 2024 harvest season. The company, which partners with fishing families to farm kelp in Maine, Rhode Island, and Alaska, has expanded both the supply of domestic line-grown kelp, as well as the market for their traceable, regeneratively farmed products to American consumers, chefs, and CPG companies since 2019. READ MORE...
  • July 12, 2024: Researchers have created tiny, vehicle-like structures which can be maneuvered by microscopic algae. The algae are caught in baskets attached to the micromachines, which have been carefully designed to allow them enough room to continue swimming. Two types of vehicles were created: the “rotator,” which spins like a wheel, and the “scooter,” which was intended to move in a forward direction but in tests moved more surprisingly. READ MORE...
  • July 10, 2024: The Algae Biomass Organization is now accepting nominations for the 2024 Algae Industry Awards. These high-profile awards recognize the companies, organizations, and individuals that have made exceptional progress and efforts in commercialization and or scientific advances related to algae and seaweed. The Algae Industry Award Winners will be announced at the 2024 Algae Biomass Summit in Houston, Texas, October 20-22, 2024. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide