Red seaweed as a feed supplement for dairy cattle has been recently approved by California’s Department of Food and Agriculture. Trials have shown that such a supplement reduced methane emissions from the animals.
Since methane is a GHG that stays in the atmosphere for about ten years and contributes to global warming, any measures to reduce it are welcome. And seaweed is not the only feed additive that can mitigate methane emissions from livestock. These options include insects, earthworms, microalgae, and pea protein.
Seaweed is now being used as a feed ingredient and research is also underway to determine the potential of microalgae as an alternative feed ingredient for poultry that can also improve the health of the flock.
Insets are a rich source of protein and can be reared with a low carbon footprint. Many animals such as chickens and fish eat insects as part of their diet and adding edible insects as protein to farm animals will also help to reduce methane and protect the environment.
Red earthworms provide high levels of protein similar to fishmeal and research is being carried out on the benefits of red earthworm meal which could replace existing animal protein sources such as soya beans.
Pea protein added to the feed of piglets has been shown to promote growth, health and development, reducing sickness and mortality rates. Pea protein could replace soya meal that usually forms part of pigs’ diet.
All these alternative feed additives and meals will substitute soya meal and reduce the crop acreage of soya beans. This crop is often accused of being responsible for deforestation, require extensive use of pesticides and are genetically modified in an attempt to increase yields per acre.