Mort & Co Stockfeeds a vehicle for methane reduction

Words by

Mort & Co. Team


12 March 2024



Methane emission reducing feed additives using Mort & Co Stockfeeds’ pellets in a grazing context has come one step closer to realization, with a recent trial showing impressive results.


The National Sheep Methane Project (NSMP) has been investigating the use of sustainable, economical and safe feed additives for mitigation of enteric methane in grazing sheep under the Methane Emission Reduction in Livestock (MERiL) program. Daniel Sitienei, a Postdoctoral Researcher on MERiL projects at the University of New England, leads experimental work on sheep with an aim to develop a methane mitigation strategy for sheep production systems in Australia. “With most of Australia’s sheep fed in grazing conditions, our strategy is to develop technology that would be more effective in such conditions.
“Some exciting results that we have seen show that with the use of Asparagopsis, we are able to reduce enteric methane emissions by up to 88% in a controlled pen environment.”

Daniel Sitienei

Postdoctoral Researcher on MERiL projects at the University of New England


Mr Sitienei adds that while results are not as high for methane mitigation under grazing conditions, the focus is on developing a market viable product. “As much as developing the science around feed additive dosages and frequency of supply, it’s equally important to make sure that we have a product that is economical and practical and suits existing farming practices. That’s why it’s critical for us, as researchers, to work with people already in the business, people like Mort & Co, who can assist in commercialisation of our outputs.” The study uses red seaweed Asparagopsis dispensed in oil as the emission inhibiting agent and is fed using Mort & Co’s All Purpose stockfeed pellets, manufactured locally at the company’s Guyra-based stockfeed mill. Mort & Co Stockfeeds Business Development Manager, David McCathie, says methane reducing feed additives are an imminent prospect for the livestock industry and Mort & Co is helping make the research a reality. “To see any kind of reasonable market adoption, trial outcomes must be practical for producers. Mort & Co is fortunate to have the right expertise and resources available to help achieve this level of development. It’s an exciting avenue and offers a niche opportunity to refine our craft. “Where the MERiL team find challenges in delivery of the methane mitigating agent or agent losses due to heat for example, our mill can alter our processes to accommodate these needs.

“This partnership is just one chapter of our wider innovation story. We are helping create an industry shift that sees a more sustainable future for livestock production.”

David McCathie

Mort & Co Stockfeeds Business Development Manager

Julius Van Der Werf, Professor of Animal Science at the University of New England, heads up the MERiL program and says uptake of methane reducing products in the market may only be a few years away. “The smoothest way to meet emission targets in the livestock sector would be to have something that everybody likes to use, they know it’s the right product, and they can afford it. “Our current projects will continue for another 2 years, and by the end of this decade I certainly hope that we will see quite a lot of use in the industry.”
The project follows Mort & Co’s extensive trial work with methane mitigating feed additives, including Bovaer and nitrates, where the company continues to focus on solidifying emission inhibitor distribution methods for grazing operations.
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