Algae supplements; coming soon to a dairy farm near you? By Michael Cox for American Dairymen Magazine
t may seem unlikely that the green pond scum often found floating in water troughs on warm summer days could one day be a mainstream feed supplement source for dairy cows, but that day may be coming closer than we think. Researchers across the globe have found success with microalgae supplements in beef, swine and poultry sectors and are now turning their attention to microalgae use in the dairy industry.
Microalgae is a highly nutritious feedstuff, that contains large amounts of lipids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. The protein content of some algae can reach 70 percent, making it a superior protein supplement source
compared to 40 percent protein soybeans. Feed-grade algae is typically grown in 8 inch deep, nutrient rich ponds, before being harvested and dried before feeding. The growing process is quite fast, as algae can double their biomass on
a daily basis. A single hectare of algae pond can produce up to 50 ton of algae feed per annum. This high level of production can offer a year-round feed supply of lipids and proteins from a much smaller area of land than would be needed to grow crops providing the same amount of nutrients.
Part of the reason behind the interest in researching algae products is the enormous benefits to human health that can be gained from consuming animal products * Continued on page 14