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4 September, 2020

Who ya gonna call? Gasbusters!

MOVE OVER Ghostbusters, Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, has introduced 'Gasbusters' and is aiming to make cattle the world over more socially and environmentally acceptable.


With the help of $13 million secured from five investors, CSIRO has announced the formation of a new company to take a methane-busting seaweed to market and in the process take the wind out of beef and dairy cattle.

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 per cent during research trials in Australia and the USA.

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

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said it was 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 the environment.” Ms Andrews said.

“It has the potential to create an entirely new industry while supporting jobs in the Australian agriculture sector.

“This is an example of what can be achieved when industry and researchers work together to solve real-world problems, and the economic opportunities that arise by commercialising research.”

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 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.

CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, said when Asparagopsis was fed as a supplement to cattle, it not only reduced methane emissions but also supported productivity.

“FutureFeed is addressing some of the greatest challenges we face,” Dr Marshall said.

“It enables agriculture and the environment to be partners, not competitors.

“FutureFeed works towards food security, sustainable production, and climate change by turning science into a real product in the hands of business, so they can turn it into jobs and economic growth.”

CSIRO scientists estimate if the feed additive was adopted by 10 per cent of beef feedlots and dairy industries globally, it would reduce livestock industry greenhouse gas emissions by 120 megatonnes per year, the equivalent to taking about 50 million cars off the road.

Asparagopsis has been developed and trialled for more than five years by the CSIRO in collaboration with Meat and Livestock Australia and James Cook University.

Dr Marshall said it would give Australian farmers an advantage in the global marketplace as first adopters of the innovation.

FutureFeed will be exploring market options for greenhouse gas abatement payments for livestock producers who adopt the supplement.


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