By HARRY CLARKE
THE development of a cutting edge cattle feed technology proven to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from beef production has reached a major milestone.
The ‘superstar seaweed’ scientifically named Asparagopsis is now being commercialised under a partnership between product developer FutureFeed, the University of New England, Woolworths, and its meat provider Australian Country Choice.
FutureFeed is the global intellectual property holder of Asparagopsis, a red seaweed which, when fed to cattle, naturally prevents the formation of methane by inhibiting a specific enzyme in the gut of livestock during digestion.
It has been proven to lower methane emissions from cattle by more than 80 percent.
The first steaks made from cattle fed with the special seaweed were served up to stakeholders by celebrity chef Matt Moran in celebration of the newly announced commercial trial.
FutureFeed CEO Dr Regan Crooks (pictured above) said the steaks marked a significant moment in the quest to lower-methane meat, with the solution ready for the beef feedlot market.
“It’s incredible to see the transition of a solution from science to a commercial reality and I think that’s something worth celebrating,” Dr Crooks said.
“These steaks represent the launch of the technology for the feedlot market and we are anticipating many more steaks on plates in Australia and around the world that are certified by FutureFeed.
“The science proves the safety and efficacy and we now look to the seaweed growers making incredible progress locally and globally for what we anticipate being rapidly increasing supply.”
“Climate change is happening now and the IPCC reported last week that methane emissions in the atmosphere are at their highest levels in hundreds of thousands of years.
“We expect this will lead to increasing pressure on our sector and it is timely that we are able to provide a solution that has now been proven, in a commercial setting, to significantly reduce methane.”
The IP was developed in collaboration with CSIRO, Meat & Livestock Australia Limited and James Cook University, FutureFeed licenses seaweed farmers around the world to grow and sell Asparagopsis.
FutureFeed feed has also just been announced the winner of the $1million Food Planet Prize, the world’s largest monetary reward on the global food arena which recognises initiatives working to secure food supply while fostering a healthy and resilient biosphere.
The 64 head commercial tri is being carried out at University of New England’s Tullimba Smart Farms under a $13million partnership with Woolworths and it’s beef supplier, Australian Country Choice (ACC).
ACC Anthony Lee said the company was proud to be part of the trial and was encouraged to see the technology applied in a commercial setting.
“We love the idea of FutureFeed’s Asparagopsis solution. It’s a natural ingredient that can be incorporated in daily mixed rations.
The beauty is in the simplicity – people want what they eat of be natural and this is. It’s also backed by strong science that gives confidence that it’s safe to use and it works,” Mr Lee said.
“The reason the red meat industry is ahead of others in reductions is because of our commitment to innovate and be proactive.”