Can seaweed tackle the ‘chaos’ around cattle and the climate?

Sealac has said it is “glad to contribute positively” to the climate and cattle “chaos” by providing products that are the best of both worlds.

Sealac makes products using seaweed, a natural resource with over 60 minerals, vitamins, amino acids and trace elements, that can be fed to animals directly or mixed in with cattle feed.

Sealac specialises in the collection and manufacture of the seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Its products are destined for pigs, horses, livestock and calves.

Keeping up with environmental research

Sealac’s Jennifer Dempsey said that its research is continuing at a “fast pace” in a bid to keep up with new environmental research, despite delays due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Its products include Electrolyte Plus for Pigs, which apparently hydrates and gives a nutritional boost to newborn piglets, Sealac 60 for healthy horses and Follow on Flake for livestock.

Dempsey said that Follow on Flake is one of the products that Sealac receives the most feedback on.

“The uptake for products like Follow on Flake is extremely positive. However, we are trying to focus on getting through to farmers to start using natural products with calves. They will see a reduction in scour.

“We are trying to teach farmers that using products like ours – made from natural products – is not going to do any harm.

People can be hesitant with change, if they don’t know what’s in something, where it comes from or what it’s really doing. That’s not the case with natural products.

Dempsey said that while animal health is understandably a top priority for farmers, there are ways to help the environment without having to compromise anything.

“We are on everyone’s side. We want to maintain the health of cattle, which is the farmers’ priority, while also helping to reduce the level of methane produced.

We found a way to do that with products made from seaweed. It can be done.

“We want to provide something to the whole climate issue that actually helps farmers, rather than just condemning them for using something.”

Supplementing cattle feed with seaweed can apparently see a reduction in methane emissions from cattle. Jennifer feels that farmers are already well aware of the issues facing agriculture. She believes that encouragement and action would be of more benefit for both cattle and the climate.

“It is obviously the conversation that everyone is having. Every farmer knows the issues with methane, yet, everyone is quick to inform farmers of it.

“They are constantly being told not to use antibiotics and this or that, but they are often told this without being offered an alternative.”

The seaweed used in Sealac’s products is found off the west coast of Ireland in rocky, sheltered areas, where it is described as “abundant”.