This week on Future Farming, we are looking into depth of the potential for feeding livestock hemp in the future.
The concept is not a new one, having first been hypothesized in the early noughties. Hemp is in fact, already used as bedding in the livestock industry, with some claiming it to be able to absorb up to 400% of its own weight in moisture.
But Scientists now believe that using hemp seed as a feed source for cattle, can now benefit their health, whilst increasing levels of production. Hemp seed, is high in much-desired fatty acids, such as Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9 and GLA. It is also very high in proteins, which contains every amino acid.
Hemp seeds are also high in fibre, aiding an animals digestive system. It also is a good source of a range of different minerals, such as: Copper, Iron, Boron, Zinc, Manganese, Nitrogen and Zinc. The Hemp will be given to animals in Colorado, via crushed seed meal, pellets, or the oil given as a supplement.
It is thought to be the future of agriculture, as it can be massly cultivated at a low cost. A study carried out in Sweden on hemp in the dairy industry, have found that some cows (being fed hemp seed meal) can produce up to four litres more of milk per day, than cows on traditional feeds.
Trials carried out in the US recently, found that cattle fed with hemp, digest food more efficiently, meaning money saved for farmers. It also, as mentioned above, carries a range of health benefits. According to US-based trials, cattle fed with hemp feed, tend to be not only more efficient, but also have a longer life expectancy and also improves their bones and joints.
There are currently in excess of 300 hemp farmers in Colorado alone, who are set to benefit greatly from the new bill.
Are there any dangers?:
As of yet, it seems not. Hemp, differs from Cannabis, in that it does not contain the toxin THC. Tests are being carried out on the daily into this, but with no definitive answers either way as of yet.