Researchers explore use of willow tree leaves to feed livestock


Researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland are exploring the use of willow tree leaves to make farming more carbon-neutral.

Researchers say willow trees grow easily in the UK and are used as a bioenergy crop.

The latest project will use willow leaves and branches, up to 18 millimeters in diameter, and feed it to sheep to see the effect on emissions.

In comparing willow to alfalfa, preliminary studies show a 50 percent reduction in methane emissions.

The next stage is feeding willow silage directly to animals with farm trials, using sheep in early 2022.

The researchers are also looking at the use of seaweed as a feed supplement for farm animals in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers are expecting methane emissions could drop at least 30 percent from farm animals.


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