(+63 2) 717-3367 | (+63 2) 903-9663
Liquid Seaweed Extract For Cattle Production Use
By: Michael Ephraim Vergara, DVM, Technical Services Associate
For many years now, seaweed has been studied for its benefits when used for animal production. It has been scientifically and historically identified as one of nature’s most mineral-rich plants.1
One of the commercially available brands of liquid seaweed extract is Natrakelp. This concentrated kelp contains micro-nutrients, alginic acid, essential amino acids, minerals and other complex compounds. Natrakelp is produced using a natural bacterial fermentation process to liquefy the kelp and maximize the seaweed’s high nutrient levels. The digestibility and palatability is increased because the seaweed plant is already broken down by enzymes in the cold liquefying process making all vitamins, minerals, amino acids and elements readily available to the animal’s digestive system, therefore, requiring less to achieve results.1
Seaweed has an extensive range of health-giving nutrients and minerals in their most natural forms that animals have always sought these plants even grazing them in salt water. Various studies have been conducted in cattle, even in sports and race horses that showed results of improvement in their production and performance.1
Historically, some literature mentions that seaweed has been the most preferred feed for cattle in coastal areas. As mentioned in the book Seaweed Sustainability (2015), seaweed contains bioactive compounds that not only improve animal performance and health but also enrich the milk quality by improving its essential fatty acids and proteins content. Seaweed supplemented meals potentially enhances the superoxide dismutase activity and increases the antioxidant capacity of both forage and grazing animals. This helps the animals to fight against oxidative stress and improves their health performance and the quality of meats as per study by Saker et al., 2001.2
Another effect of kelp as stated in the book Seaweed Sustainability is that it enhances immune function and overall health and protects the animals against prolonged heat or transport-induced oxidative stress. Intense summer climates at cattle farms significantly reduce milk production, reproductive performance, and the overall health of the animals.2
Natrakelp, the makers of Natrakelp liquid seaweed extract conducted a study on beef cattle (Angus steers) to determine if weight gain will be better if supplemented with 40 ml of Natrakelp per head per day. Results of the study showed that while on Natrakelp the steers had an average weight gain of 1.68 kg per day while without Natrakelp, they had an average weight gain of 1.16 kg per day. Feed consumption remained the same, meaning while on Natrakelp, the cattle had an additional weight gain of .518kg per day on the average without consuming any extra feed.1
Another study was conducted by Natrakelp and this time it was on small ruminants. An independent trial on lambs was conducted at Oakdale White Suffolk Stud in Serviceton, Victoria in Australia to test if increase weight gain will be observed when given Natrakelp in high amounts but for a short period of time. Trial summary with the results is shown next page.1
The trial was done on 55 late drop White Suffolk lambs. Over the duration of the trial, all of the lambs were together in the same paddock and had access to exactly the same feed.
16/2/2012-The lambs were divided into two groups and each lamb was weighed. 15ml of Natrakelp was given to 28 of the lambs via drench. The remaining 27 lambs were left as a control.
Over the next month, the lambs that were taking the Natrakelp were given a 15ml drench every 3 days (a total of 150ml was given to them over the month).
14/3/2012 - The lambs were weighed again and the results recorded.
Conclusion: The lambs that were given the Natrakelp drench averaged a weight gain of 5.68 kg for the month while the control lambs had an average weight gain of 4.35 kg meaning a difference of 1.33 kg.
Darryl at Oakdale also noted an improvement in the look of the lambs that were taking the Natrakelp.
Natrakelp liquid seaweed extract can be administered orally, mixed with water or food and the recommended usage is as follows:
30ml daily for the 1st month, 20ml daily for the next month. Thereafter daily with feed or water as required to maintain desired results. This may vary according to the quality of pasture and/or supplementary feed.
5ml daily in milk
2 Tiwari BK and Troy DJ. 2015. Seaweed Sustainability (Food and Non-Food Applications). Elsevier Inc., 389-403