DemoDAIRY Foundation is proud to be contributing to Deakin University’s current project to assess the potential for seaweed supplementation of livestock to simultaneously drought-proof the Australian dairy industry and address carbon emissions.
The Foundation has provided a $5000 scholarship to student Thiruchenduran (Thiru) Somasundaram who is contributing to the project. it is being led by Dr Alecia Bellgrove and Dr Damien Callahan.
The focus of the project is to;
- assess the best combination of sustainably-produced seaweeds for livestock feeds and the efficacy of preparing feeds as either loose silage or dried pellets for incorporation into the animal diets and the resultant nutritional value.
- assess the effects of seaweed supplementation of dairy cows on milk production and quality.
- assess the effects of seaweed supplementation of dairy cows on animal health and methane production.
- assess the effects of seaweed supplementation of dairy cows on farm-scale water budgets and the potential for drought-proofing feed supplies.
Thiru has commenced his PhD candidature this month and begins a literature review and animal ethics application.
Global demand for seaweed has increased dramatically over recent decades and the potential for seaweed aquaculture to address issues around food security and climate change mitigation are being recognised.
Droughts and drought-like conditions are projected to increase in frequency in coming years, with reductions of 20-30% of Winter and Spring rainfall in Australia by 2030 placing severe pressure on terrestrially-grown livestock fodder.
This project is aligned with Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE) and Centre for Rural and Regional Futures (CeRRF). Using an integrative and multi-disciplinary approach it addresses the issues of food security, climate mitigation and sustainably food production.
Deakin University hopes to build existing relationships with its industry partners like Tassal, Spring Bay Seafoods and Victorian Shellfish Hatchery by assessing ruminant-feed market potential for cultured local seaweeds.
There is already interest from local farmers and feed producers to participate in the project. The research team aims to conduct a stakeholder workshop in the first half of 2020 to explore opportunities in seaweed supplementation, with spin-offs at a national scale.