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Dairy cows’ greenhouse gas emissions cut by 52% after eating seaweed at Bay Area farm

San Francisco Chronicle

Photo courtesy Alvin A.H. Jornada/Special to The Chronicle

By Tara Duggan

At a Marin dairy farm this summer, cows got a little something extra in their organic hay and alfalfa: a sprinkle of seaweed powder that holds promise for helping the state achieve ambitious climate goals.

The cows were part of the first commercial trial to determine how adding red seaweed to their diet cut down on the amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, the bovines release in their burps. Conducted this summer at a Marin County farm that supplies milk to Straus Family Creamery in Petaluma, the trial backed up earlier academic studies from UC Davis by finding that the cattle’s methane emissions went down by an average of 52% over 50 days.

We validated what the research had shown and did it in a real trial that was relevant to dairy farms across the country — actually throughout the world,” said Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery, which sponsored the trial with Blue Ocean Barns, a company that grows red seaweed in Hawaii and San Diego.

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