FutureFeed: game-changer for the planet

26th August 2020 | Eativity editors

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has announced the formation of a new company to take a methane-busting seaweed to market, with $13 million secured from five investors. FutureFeed Pty Ltd will commercialise a livestock feed additive made from the seaweed Asparagopsis, which has been shown to reduce methane emissions in beef and dairy cattle by more than 80 percent in research trials in Australia and the US.

AGP Sustainable Real Assets-Sparklabs Cultiv8 Joint Venture, GrainCorp, Harvest Road, Woolworths and CSIRO have committed to investing in the company.

Dr Rob Kinley with FutureFeed at CSIRO’s Lansdown research station in North Queensland.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says it’s great to see Australian companies getting behind an Aussie innovation with immense global potential.

“This is a game-changer – not only for livestock production, but also for our environment – with the potential to create an entirely new industry, while supporting jobs in the Australian agriculture sector,” she says. “This is an example of what can be achieved when industry and researchers work together to solve real-world problems.”

The newly established FutureFeed company will develop a full value chain for the livestock feed supplement, from seaweed cultivation and production through to processing and feed manufacture in order to supply beef and dairy industries globally.

The company expects to see commercial volumes of the feed additive supplied into the Australian beef and dairy market by mid-2021, with international markets to follow.

When Asparagopsis is fed as a supplement to cattle, it not only reduces methane emissions but also supports productivity. The supplement has been developed over more than five years by CSIRO in collaboration with Meat & Livestock Australia and James Cook University.

To study how much less methane cattle produce with FutureFeed, emissions are measured in special chambers.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall says FutureFeed is science solving the seemingly unsolvable – reducing the emissions but not the profits.

“FutureFeed enables agriculture and the environment to be partners not competitors, helps overcome negative perceptions of the cattle industry, and gives Australian farmers an advantage in the global marketplace as first adopters of this Aussie innovation,” he says.

“FutureFeed is addressing some of the greatest challenges we face, including food security, sustainable production and climate change.”

CSIRO scientists estimate that if the feed additive were to be adopted by 10 percent of beef feedlots and dairy industries globally, this could reduce livestock industry greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 120 megatonnes per year, equivalent to taking around 50 million cars off the road for a year.