Converting Manure into Feed with Aquatic Plants
A novel idea being piloted in the dairy industry is aquatic plants grown from animal manure. Jason Prapas, founder and CEO of Fyto, says they’ve seen a positive response from cows after adding aquatic-grown duckweed to their diets.
Prapas… “We’ve seen excellent palatability of the product which is number one factor, is a cow going to eat it. But more importantly on safety and efficacy, we’ve seen the heifers which are the adolescent cows have substantial weight gain when their substitution of their usual protein with a Fyto diet is taking place and that’s led to the dairy farmers we’ve worked with being very excited about what this could mean for their operation, saving money and having better performance in terms of heifer growth. And on the milk trial side, we’re doing a really rigorous study right now where we’re tracking, again, not just the milk production in terms of volume, but the components of the milk. We’re also tracking enteric emissions which is a really important topic these days in terms of methane production from the animals themselves. We’ve done invitro tests in test tubes with rumen fluid from dairy cows that demonstrated a potential 20+ percent reduction in enteric emissions but we want to see that in live animals because a test tube is not a cow and we recognize the difference and we want to see what happens over the long term when we feed cows the diet and see if that metric is also improving.”
With the push for net-zero emissions throughout agriculture, the plants grown at Fyto could be a step in the right direction for methane reduction in the dairy sector.