Aquatic ‘Superplants’ Are Local Food for Cows That Lead to Lower Emissions

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Using a water-born crop that grows at breakneck speed, an innovative cattle feed startup could reduce livestock emissions in a variety of ways.

By reducing methane emissions from the bovine’s digestion, growing the plants on smaller lots than traditional feed, and using the farm’s manure to cover input costs, the aquatic feed offers protection to the invaluable beef industry from zealous politicians and activists who aren’t willing to wait for innovation to improve the carbon footprint of livestock.

Called Fyto, the startup boasts of a “library” of aquatic crop varieties that offer superior nutrition compared to other feeds like alfalfa.

Relatives of a common pond vegetation called duckweed are grown in installed greenhouses on the farm. In a pool of water, which they ironically consume in far less amounts than terrestrial crops, the duckweed can double in size every three days, which is among the fastest growing speeds for any crop for any purpose, expect for some species of bamboo.

The greenhouses’ speed and efficiency is believed to be able to support large herds of beef and dairy cattle on less land than herds from Brazil, where forest is cleared for soybean plantation to feed the cattle, generally need.

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