Seaweed that improves feed for dairy cows - Feed experiment that examines the effects of algae on the usefulness and health of milk

Project title: Seaweed that improves feed for dairy cows

Partners: The experimental farm at Stóra-Ármót, University of Reading

Research Fund: Agricultural Productivity Fund

Initial year: 2020


Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir

Project Manager

Main objectives 1) Increase the utilization of dairy cows, 2) Examine the quality and chemical content of cow's milk after seaweed feeding, 3) Possibility to use seaweed as a mineral source in organic feed. New product: Iodine-rich milk.

The study "Seaweed as a feed supplement for dairy cows - increased utility and quality?" (18-039) funded by the Productivity Fund in 2018 investigated the status of heavy metals, minerals and iodine in milk after seaweed administration. The experiment ran for 13 weeks at Stóra-Ármót and a large number of samples were collected. It turned out that there was little difference in milk composition in terms of, for example, protein, fat and lactose. Trace elements and minerals were measured in collection samples for three groups of cows for 12 weeks (36 samples). 

The results, however, show unexpected changes in some trace elements, including a decrease in Selenium, Zinc etc. It is therefore necessary to measure samples from each cow, ie each individual, in order to statistically estimate this difference. This change / decrease could be due to very few individuals and therefore it is important to look at individual samples. Matís will measure trace elements and minerals in 333 samples from the experiment with ICP-MS measurements after degradation. Iodine and fatty acid composition will also be measured in the same 333 samples at a partner (University of Reading).

Related Articles

Effect of Dietary Seaweed Supplementation in Cows on Milk Macrominerals, Trace Elements and Heavy Metal Concentrations