University of California researchers are feeding seaweed to dairy cows in an attempt to make cattle more climate-friendly.
UC Davis is studying whether adding small amounts of seaweed to cattle feed can help reduce their emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s released when cattle burp, pass gas or make manure.
In a study this past spring, researchers found methane emissions were reduced by more than 30 percent in a dozen Holstein cows that ate the ocean algae, which was mixed into their feed and sweetened with molasses to disguise the salty taste.
“I was extremely surprised when I saw the results,” said Ermias Kebreab, the UC Davis animal scientist who led the study. “I wasn’t expecting it to be that dramatic with a small amount of seaweed.”
Kebreab says his team plans to conduct a six-month study of a seaweed-infused diet in beef cattle starting in October.