Life Science Environment Surf meets turf: Seaweed additive to cut cows’ greenhouse emissions gets $1m grant
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Surf meets turf: Seaweed additive to cut cows’ greenhouse emissions gets $1m grant

Like fossil fuels, Bovine emissions represent a major threat to our planet's health. Photo: New Daily
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While it might sound like a fishy tale, a company is ramping up production of a specially cultivated seaweed as a livestock feed additive to reduce emissions.

The Morrison government has given $1 million to agricultural science company Sea Forest to increase supplies of its seaweed additive for livestock feed, which reduces livestock methane emissions by more than 98 per cent.

It also improves herd health.

Sea Forest has worked closely with the CSIRO over the last five years to test and refine its product.

It is among seven businesses sharing in $4.2 million in matched funding in the latest round of the government’s Accelerating Commercialisation grants.

“Through this latest funding, we’re backing projects that will improve agricultural processes and reduce greenhouse emissions, all while growing a developing industry that will create jobs,” Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said in a statement on Sunday.

Sea Forest CEO Sam Elsom said the grant will help fast track supplies of its Asparagopsis seaweed supplement to farms across Australia and globally.

“Using the Asparagopsis Sea Forest supplement to reduce methane is also an economic no brainer,” Mr Elsom said in a statement.

“Twenty per cent of the cow’s energy is lost in converting food into methane, so there will be significantly less food needed to grow livestock.”

He said Asparagopsis is also a gamechanger for oceans as it de-acidifes the water, stripping out the carbon dioxide.

“In effect, the water will be pumped back into the ocean cleaner than when it came in,” he said.

Other recipients of the Accelerating Commercialisation grants include Victorian-based Real Thing Entertainment which also received $1 million.

The grant is to help commercialise its artificial intelligence platform that gives people who are blind or have little vision the ability to search for audio books from a variety of libraries, talking newspaper collections, podcasts, talking magazines and radio stations using a voice-activated portable smartphone.

Agscent Pty Ltd from NSW received a grant of $600,000 to commercialise its Agtech solution for improved livestock breeding by using an animal’s breath to test for pregnancy.

Queensland’s Monsoon Aquatics received a grant of $304,058 to commercialise its coral reproduction processes to help rebuild the world’s reefs and sustainably supply aquarium retailers across the world.

-AAP