North Island College Researching Benefits of Seaweed as Cattle Feed
North Island College’s Centre for Applied Research, Technology, and Innovation (CARTI) is embarking on a new research project, investigating how seaweed can help improve the health and sustainability of cattle farming.
NIC received $25,000 from NSERC Engage for the project, which will be led by NIC faculty member Dr. Spencer Serin.
“Seaweed as an additive in cattle feed has shown a remarkable ability both decrease methane, and increase some beneficial attributes of cattle and meat quality,” said Serin, the NIC faculty member leading the research.
The research is being done in partnership with Beaver Meadow Farms in Comox.
“Our farm has long been interested in strategies to increase the sustainability and decrease the environmental impact of cattle ranching,” said Edgar Smith, owner, and operator of Beaver Meadow Farms. “This partnership with NIC will help us better study the techniques we’ve been developing on our farm. It’s wonderful to be able to access this kind of research support locally."
The variety of seaweed being used is Mazzaella japonica macroalgae – an invasive red seaweed that often washes up on shore during storms.
“The red seaweed is sourced down close to Deep Bay at the Marine Centre there, and we’re looking at the inclusion of 5% by dry-matter into their diet, so a very small amount, so maybe 1-2 pounds per animal per day,” said Serin.
Serin says there is massive potential for seaweed as an additive in cattle feed throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The project will run July – December 2020 and will include the use of NIC lab space for testing. Student researchers will have the opportunity to assist with testing and data collection.
Learn more about NIC’s Centre for Research, Technology, and Innovation at http://www.nic.bc.ca/research.