Construction of the first processing plant to use a seaweed-based feed supplement for cows to reduce their methane production by 90 per cent will begin near Port Pirie towards the end of this year.

From left: Adam Main, general manager of CH4 in Australia, Steven Clarke and Sasi Nayar, both of whom work for the South Australian Research and Development Institute, where CH4 has tested and developed products. Supplied image

The $90 million advanced processing facility will be built by Pirie Meats, with CH4 Global, Organic Technology Holdings and Siemens Australia signed up as innovation partners.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of this year and the facility will commence initial operations within a year.

Once developed the site will act as “processing innovation hub” with the aim of driving further innovation in sustainable, carbon-neutral processing in the agriculture sector.

Cattle are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions with every one of the 1.5 billion cows on the planet producing about 100kg of methane a year.

CSIRO research found that the red seaweed Asparagopsis mixed with regular cattle feed at a rate of 100 grams per cow per day reduced methane production by 90 per cent.

CH4 Global has purchased a licence from patent owners CSIRO, Meat & Livestock Australia and James Cook University and gained regulatory approval for the material to be allowed to sell it in Australia.

The cold water Asparagopsis species occurs naturally and grows well in New Zealand and also in southern Australia.

In what’s claimed to be a world-first agreement, CH4 Global will initially provide Pirie Meats with enough Asparagopsis seaweed supplement for up to 10,000 head of cattle.

The red seaweed will be cultivated by CH4 in South Australia where the company has signed a partnership agreement with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation (NNAC).

Originally published in The Lead.