Susan Wood, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
Straus Family Creamery is widely known for all things food, but red seaweed isn’t one of them — until now.
This summer, ecologist-at-heart Albert Straus, who is a pioneer in organic farming, signed up his 24 cows on his Petaluma farm to help determine if feeding them red seaweed would reduce their methane emissions, mostly from belching. He mixed the ocean plant into their feed, like humans would add green onions to their scrambled eggs,
And over a 50-day trial in which the cows were tested four times a day, methane releases dropped by 52%. In some circumstances, the experiment showed the methane was cut by as much as 90%. Straus, who produces an assortment of mass-produced dairy products, believes a second trial planned in January will produce more consistent results.
“We know we can do better than that,” he told the Business Journal, referencing the lower percentage of reduction.
So far in the first trial, the equivalent of five metric tons of harmful greenhouse gases, blamed in causing the planet to heat up, was cut.
As part of a state climate initiative, California’s 2030 mandate requires a reduction of methane by 40%. It has been determined that cow burps are responsible for 35% of total U.S. on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.