Published: 31 Aug 2022
TIA PhD candidate Swagat Nepal is working with supervisor Dr Richard Rawnsley on feed technologies for livestock using asparagopsis (red seaweed) to reduce methane emissions."My project aims to develop a novel delivery mechanism in feeding bromoform extracted from red seaweed (Asparagopsis spp.) to livestock in extensive grazing situations."This research could also be very helpful to the University of Tasmania and TIA in helping them play a substantive role in driving the Tasmanian and Australian agricultural industry towards net zero emissions by 2030 and bridging challenges between research and commercial application of red seaweed in animal feeding systems."
PhD Title: Investigating low emissions feed technologies for improved profitability of the Tasmanian livestock sector.
What is your PhD project?
Livestock play an important role in agriculture in Australia, however they are responsible for a large amount of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane. Livestock tend to ruminate and burp a lot after meals, releasing methane to the atmosphere.
They have no control over methane emissions as it is an end-product of digestion in their rumen.
My project aims to develop a novel delivery mechanism in feeding bromoform extracted from red seaweed (Asparagopsis spp.) to livestock in extensive grazing situations.
Bromoform reacts with gases produced in the rumen of animals to substantially mitigate the production of methane without affecting digestibility and potentially uplifting their production potential.
My research project also aims to quantify key productivity performance measures of animals, including feed conversion efficiency and live weight gain attained by animals, when they are fed on a low emissions feed.
How would you like to see your research used?
I believe that my research would have impacts for multiple stakeholders. It would be able to demonstrate on-farm benefits for Tasmanian farmers raising livestock in grazing systems in terms of decreased cost of production using low emissions feed.
It could translate into building a grazing system of raising livestock without affecting the quality of milk and meat and could be used worldwide. Farmers could also opt to claim carbon credits from the government for their endeavours in decreasing emissions from their businesses.
My research would also be highly beneficial to stakeholders cultivating red seaweed in reaching commercialisation for their product.
This research could also be very helpful to the University of Tasmania and TIA in helping them play a substantive role in driving the Tasmanian and Australian agricultural industry towards net zero emissions by 2030 and bridging challenges between research and commercial application of red seaweed in animal feeding systems.
A gross decrease in methane production from Tasmanian and Australian livestock systems would be a win-win situation for everyone and healthier for the planet as well.
What do you enjoy about studying/researching at the TIA?
TIA is comprised of a dynamic team of scientists and technical experts, many of whom are renowned internationally and are supported by an equally capable team of professional staff.
The best thing about TIA is that everyone here treats me like a colleague in their field.
I am proud to be able to help progress the agricultural industry of Tasmania through relevant research and development in my field.
Everyone here is so supportive and happy to help anytime.
My colleagues have gone above and beyond multiple times in not only helping me with my research, but also in balancing my personal and professional life.
I am proud and honoured to be a part of this team.
Can you share a “best moment” in your research so far?
The best moment in TIA by far was when my supervisor Dr Richard Rawnsley helped me find accommodation in Burnie. He went out of his way to help me get settled, and I am forever grateful for his efforts.
A word of advice or favourite quote?
The sign on my door that says "failure is not an option".