Farm Table says:
The potential for production systems in Northern Australia
What is the problem?
Livestock productivity is influenced by seasonal variation of pasture quantity and quality, particularly in Northern Australia. Macroalgae has a high nutrient value and biomass production, and there is growing interest in using macroalgae in livestock production systems.
This paper is a review article which compares and discusses the literature surrounding the use and potential of macroalgae as a supplementary feed for beef cattle.
What were the key findings?
Several species of both green freshwater and marine macroalgae were compared. The crude protein content ranged from 75.4 – 339.1g/kg DW.
- four of the six macroalgae species examined had high phosphorous content, ranging from 1.4 – 5g/kg DW
- marine macroalgae was found to have a higher sulfur concentration than freshwater macroalgae, ranging from 2.9 – 57.5g/kg DW
- phosphorous, sulfur and protein contents were emphasised here because these are usual dietary limitations associated with low quality pastures in livestock production systems in Northern Australia
Overall, it was shown that the addition of macroalgae to forage feeds of low quality. However, the effects of macroalgae on palatability and animal productivity have yet to be illustrated.
This paper shows macroalgae to be a high-protein, high-phosphorus, sustainable supplementary feed for beef cattle that could be used in areas of low pasture quality to ensure optimal nutrition.