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TIL that adding a type of seaweed to the diet of cows, reduces their methane production by 70%.

TIL that adding a type of seaweed to the diet of cows, reduces their methane production by 70%.

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44 Comments


  1. RootJaden

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    >Unfortunately, seaweed isn’t a quick fix for our atmospheric methane overdose. We just don’t make enough. Scientists calculate that it would take some 6,000 hectares (about 15,000 acres) of seaweed farms to supply a mere 10 percent of Australia’s 29 million cattle; to supply America’s 92 million would take over thirty times more. While seaweed farming is a rapidly growing global industry, it’s not yet up to such herculean demands.

    This is the reason why it’s not done everywhere already if anyone is wondering.

  2. drsloth1138

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    The hard part would be herding all those cows down to the beach.

  3. uid_2

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    That, comma…

  4. aussydog

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    My dad worked for a biotech company that developed a feed additive that helped cattle digest their food easier.

    Despite having multiple stomachs the majority of the food cattle eat comes out as waste. The inefficiency of that digestion is what causes a lot of the methane production. The feed additive my dad’s company developed was some sort of yeast if I recall.

    It would boost the efficiency of the feed by assisting in breaking down the long cellulose strands in hay and corn. It allowed farmers to feed their cows with far less and still keep them full and healthy.

    I don’t know if the product took off though. It was pretty new about 20yrs ago and that’s when my dad died so my knowledge of the stuff died with him to a certain extent.

    **EDIT:**

    1. The company my dad worked for was [Alltech](http://www.alltech.com/)

    2. The feed additive I was talking about is something like this: http://www.alltech.com/product/yea-sacc

    3. The company he worked for is a biotech company…not something nefarious. They also had a product that was designed to help break down the stalks of corn after harvest so that farmers didn’t have to burn their fields (keeps the nutrients in the soil and allows for less fertilizer to be needed in the next season). I’m also pretty sure they sold metric fuck-tonnes of yeasts to beer manufacturers too. The company founder/owner even paid my dad’s salary for a full year after he died even though the owner had no legal obligation to do so.

    Not all companies involved in farming are bad. Quite a few of them are looking out for human kind far more than the rest of us. So if the nasty pm’s about my dad is better off being dead rather than working for an evil corp could stop, I’d appreciate it.

  5. DerekS428

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    That unnecessary comma hurts my brain.

  6. Landlubber77

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    You ever wonder why starfishes are so lazy? Poseidon legalized recreational seaweed.

  7. askantik

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    As a society we seem to be waiting on some super high tech, pseudo-magical solution to absolve us all of personal responsibility. But it isn’t gonna happen– at least not on a timescale that is useful for, y’know, maintaining a habitable planet. I would like to present some key research because this is an important issue which is (unfortunately) widely overlooked and/or ignored.

    *”When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9% of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure. And it accounts for respectively 37% of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.*

    *”The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport.”*

    *”Livestock now use 30% of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33% of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70% of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.”*

    *”[Livestock] is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to eutrophication, “dead” zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others.”*

    [UN FAO report](http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM)

    – *”Immediate and substantial reductions in wasted food and meat and dairy intake, particularly ruminant meat (e.g., beef and lamb), are imperative to mitigating catastrophic climate change.”*
    – **”If global trends in meat and dairy intake continue, global mean temperature rise will more than likely exceed 2°C, *even with dramatic emissions reductions across non-agricultural sectors*.”**

    [John Hopkins report](http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/_pdf/research/clf_reports/2015-12-07e-role-of-diet-food-waste-in-cc-targets.pdf)

  8. change1378

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Thumbnail looks like a female silhouette with a white top and a brown thick belt

  9. probywan1337

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Save a cow, and eat your veggies!

  10. claire0

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Where can I get this seaweed? Asking for a friend.

  11. Alternate_Source

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    /r/unnecessarycommas

  12. stanley_twobrick

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    What does adding commas do?

  13. Victorbob

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    How about just not feeding them corn. Cows are not meant to eat a diet consisting mostly of corn. Its not good for their digestion. That is why they are farting so much. There, problem solved. And I didn’t even need a research grant to figure it out.

  14. muttstuff

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    This is ridiculous. People would rather spend hundreds of thousands possibly millions of dollars to figure out the answer to something we already know. People trying to find the right way to do the wrong thing. You know it’s a hell of a lot easier to consume a plant based diet than to try and find another way to still fuck something up. A plant based diet means much less methane and c02 in the atmosphere, less species extinction, less deforestation, less ocean acidification and less breathing problems to poor people that live in the rural areas near to these mega farms. There is no way to make animal agriculture a good thing for the health of the planet.

  15. hallese

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Anyone else bothered by the fact that while claiming our love of cheeseburgers is the problem, the article leads off by naming two breeds of dairy cattle rather than breeds raised primarily for slaughter?

  16. Michael_Talbot

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    How does it work on mother in-laws?

  17. PTDfool

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Not eating the big bastards can reduce methane emissions by 100%.

  18. btao

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    #”ABOUT 14.5 PERCENT OF ANTHROPOGENIC GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS COME FROM LIVESTOCK. THAT IS MORE THAN GLOBAL CAR AND AIRPLANE TRAFFIC EMISSIONS COMBINED.”

    Think about that. 100-150lbs of grain a day is used to feed 1 cow, times a year and a half of that til it’s dinner. 2500 gallons of water are used to produce 1lb of beef. A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.

    Ask the question, for all the groups fighting global warming, why are none of them speaking of agriculture, when it’s the biggest contributor?

  19. ShirePony

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    They’ve only tested this in the lab. It could have serious adverse health effects on the cows to have this particular enzyme blocked. And what’s worse, it may give their milk/meat a tainted taste.

    Additionally, it requires tremendous resources to harvest crops at that scale. Seaweed requires nutrients and the proper environment just like wheat and corn. Only now you have to develop farming equipment that can withstand corrosive seawater and fertilizers that aren’t washed away by the currents.

  20. Pm__me__your_secrets

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Or just make less cows

  21. zycamzip

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I gave up beef and dairy milk years ago for health reasons. Glad to know I am doing my part for the environment as well.

  22. drummyfish

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Today you should also learn when to use commas.

  23. Vulpix_

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    It’s like people just put commas wherever they want these days.

  24. tecomancat

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Dairy farmers are some of the most frugal people on earth they are not going to buy sea weed. Unless they get a bloated federal grant to buy it.

  25. autmned

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Not breeding them reduces their carbon emissions by 100%.

    ^(go vegan.)

  26. SoyMurcielago

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Does it reduce human methane production?

  27. Phlox_carolina

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Not eating beef reduces your methane footprint by even more (I guess that’s stating the obvious).

  28. reckedcat

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    You know what else would help?
    Eating less dairy and cows. Reduce demand for products that have a high strain on the environment.

  29. Speedhump23

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Burps produce more methane than farts.

    Also, give them time, someone will make an artificial version to save money etc.

  30. beebeereebozo

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Big Seaweed is obviously behind this.

  31. hidazfx

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    In reality, cows just have really upset stomachs.

  32. goldandguns

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Adding useless commas, does nothing for your title

  33. Esham

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Corn lobby can’t allow that though. Gotta feed farm animals, not people, with that corn.

  34. maggotbrownie

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I know ill be downvoted for this, but reducing (or entirely eliminating) animal agriculture is one of the best things we cam do for the environment. Watch the documentary Cowspiracy for more info.

  35. polve

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    you know what would also reduce methane production? not producing/eating cows + dairy

  36. the_V0lum3

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Til not killing cows for products derived from their bodies would reduce their methane emissions by almost %100

  37. permanent_throwaway-

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Does this work on dogs? Because my dog stinks it up daily. Damn digestion issues.

  38. humpyXhumpy

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Reduce your methane emissions by 70% with this one small trick. Global warming hates it!

  39. TheRinzler1992

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    My girlfriend needs some of that

  40. allusernamestaken1

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    My dad needs some of this seaweed. Well, actually he doesn’t, the family does. But it’s for him.

  41. Yakno_what

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

  42. _ReptarRawr_

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    They confirmed this in vitro, if it is viable they should follow up with an in vivo experiment to confirm the conclusions found in the laboratory. -Dairy Nutritional Biochem graduate student

  43. WebZey

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    Or just maybe stop farming them?

  44. Anonymous

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

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