Kelp is another relatively new type of feed supplement, which farmers have been experimenting with, especially in the dairy industry. It has been long heralded that kelp helps decrease methane emissions, but what are the benefits of feeding it to your animals?
Kelp, as I am sure you are aware, is an edible type of seaweed. It is a marine algae, which is jam-packed full of nutritious minerals. There are a range of different uses for kelp, though most of which are utilised for humans.These include frozen foods, toothpastes, shampoo, salad dressings, baked goods, pharmaceuticals and even dairy products. But what are the benefits for cattle?
Benefits for livestock:
There are a range of benefits of feeding kelp to livestock, most of which are only relatively new discoveries.
- Improving the function of immune systems and reversing depressed immune systems
- Reducing stress,
- Increasing the quality of meat in your animal
- It greatly adds to your animals daily weight gain.
- It reduces stress levels for cow and calf at weaning
You may find it hard to believe, but people have been feeding kelp to their livestock as far back as the early 1900’s, with a great debate on the subject. It wasn’t until the late 70’s when there came a renewed interest in feeding kelp to animals. Upon studying, it was found that kelp contains over 60 nutritious microelements. These minerals were shown to be more efficient than inorganic feed sources.
It was only in recent years that science has truly discovered the full benefits of feeding dry kelp to animals. Recent studies have even found that seaweeds contain many beneficial antioxidants and phlorotannins.
Phlorotannins, of course, is an antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-human immunodeficiency virus, and antihypertensive agent, to name a few.
As mentioned above, kelp/seaweed contains many different minerals and nutrients. These include Calcium, Fiber, Copper, Sodium, Iron, Iodine, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Riboflavin, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Zinc, Pantothenic Acid.
Recent studies have also found that the benefits of kelp, does not end there! Seaweeds and kelps have been found to contain prebiotic potencies, which means they can help increase your animal's performance and even rival antibiotic use.
These studies have proven that these probiotics, which we know from Tv advertising are good bacteria. These help not only humans but animals also. They are proven to help with Irritable bowel syndrome, Leaky gut, colon problems, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and even cancers.
Probably the one and only problem of feeding kelp, is when you encounter an animal with fussy taste buds. But as the saying goes, “If they are hungry enough they will eat it”. It can not only be fed to cattle, but also horse, pigs, chickens and even goats.
The benefits of kelp definitely outweigh the negatives, so is it not worth a try? Not only are there massive health benefits, but it might also get the environmental campaigners off the ‘blame-farmers for climate change’ bandwagon. It would be no harm, wouldn’t it?