Farmers to feed cows seaweed to cut down on gas emissions

Coastal Maine has a lot of seaweed, and a fair number of cows. A group of scientists and farmers think that pairing the two could help unlock a way to cope with a warming world. The researchers — from a marine science lab, an agriculture center and universities in northern New England — are working on a plan to feed seaweed to cows to gauge whether that can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. About a quarter of the methane in the country comes from cattle, which produce the gas when they belch or flatulate. The concept of feeding seaweed to cows has gained traction in recent years because of some studies that have shown its potential to cut back on methane. The reduction might be because the seaweed interrupts the process of production of the gas in the animals’ guts. One of the big questions is which kinds of seaweed offer the highest benefit to farmers looking to cut methane, and the researchers hope to find out, said Nichole Price, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine, and the project’s leader. “What on that list has the ability to do two things — not just reduce methane emissions, but have some health benefits for the cow that have a cost savings or cost efficiency for the farmer?” Price said. The researchers plan to conduct feeding trials with cows in Maine and New Hampshire in 2020 and 2021 to see whether seaweeds that can be used as cattle feed can cut the methane. They also intend to screen seaweeds for compounds that make them useful as cattle feed additives. The lab work to determine whether the seaweeds succeed in reducing methane will take place at University of Vermont.

Ok.. Let’s get this straight… Some eco-nerd scientists from the northeast are feeding cows SEAWEED (something that is NOT part of their normal diet) in an attempt to cut back on their farting. Even IF their weird science experience bears some fruit in terms of reduced cow farting, it opens up all sorts of questions like.. What effects will it have on the cows? Will the taste of the cow’s milk or steak be altered? And, will some federal or state governmental agency (or Dem-controlled legislature) seize on this and force farmers in the Midwest to feed their cows SEAWEED?…like that’ll ever happen, lol. For more of this crazy AP story, click on the text above.

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