Technology set to redesign the future of food as agriculture moves towards net zero


On the east coast of Tasmania, the frigid waters and inexperienced panorama seem a world amethod from the blistering warmth and purple dust of Western Australia’s Pilbara.

Key factors:

  • Australia’s farming enterprise has dedicated to reaching carbon impartiality by 2050
  • Agriculture accounts for about 13 per cent of Australia’s inexperiencedhouse gasoline emissions
  • Protein demand is tipped to rise 74 per cent by 2050 As a Outcome of the worldwide inhabitants heads in the direction of 10 billion

Neverthemuch less The two areas, on reverse corners of the Australian continent, are being launched collectively in surprising strategies.

Scientists have found that a purple seaweed Usually acknowledged as asparagopsis, native to Tasmania, can reduce the methane emissions from cows by As a lot as 98 per cent when added to their food regimens.

And Inside the Pilbara, as In lots of completely different parts of the nation the place staystock are farmed, producers are lining up To place it to use.

“I do not assume It is the silver bullet,” said Sea Forest CEO Sam Elsom, whose agency is making an try to enterpriseise the manufacturing of asparagopsis.

“However I really feel we’ll have An monumental influence on the purpleuction of emissions in Australia and probably completely different parts of the world.”

In the din of the political debate about local climate coverage in Australia, farming our bodies collectively with Meat and Livestock Australia and the Nationwide Farmers’ Federation have stolen a march on the Commonwealth by committing to internet zero targets.

And producers have taken the cue, embracing new utilized sciences and practices in a bid To reduce their emissions the placeas seizing on the enterprise alternatives that inexperienceder farming can supply.

Meat — but not as You Know it

One initiative drawing curiosity and funding from the likes of Search founder Paul Bassat and tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes Does not contain the slaughter of any animals In any respect.

This meat burger was developn in a lab using stem cells taken from a cow.(Provided: Mark Submit)

Variously Usually acknowledged as cultupurple meat, lab meat and mobile meat, these merchandise are created from animal cells in a laboratory.

Although the enterprise is tiny — cultupurple meat was solely served in a restaurant for The primary time final yr — there are forecasts it might take A ten per cent share of the $US1.4 trillion meat enterprise by 2030.

By 2040, This might rise to 35 per cent, overtaking plant-based mostly meat substitutes Inside The tactic, Based on consultants AT Kearney.

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Australian corporations Attempt to get in on the act.

Vow, a Sydney-based mostly start-up, has acquired assist from deep-pocketed buyers to develop its cell-based mostly meat merchandise, the placeas Brisbane agency Heuros is pursuing An identical method.

Lab meat potential ‘huge’

Heuros chief authorities Nick Beaumont said the environmental advantages of mobile farming have been probably huge.

Nick Beaumont from cell-based mostly meat developer Heuros says the environmental advantages of the know-how are monumental.(ABC Rural: Marty McCarthy)

Dr Beaumont said cultupurple meat might assist feed a rising and more and more rich worldwide inhabitants, the placeas relieving strain on resupplys Similar to arable land and water currents.

He said There have been additionally a lot decrease risks of bacterial contamination Inside the manufacturing of cell-based mostly meat As a Outcome of of its administrationled nature.

Neverthemuch less, Dr Beaumont said the know-how wasn’t with out its problems, which included The Want to win over a probably sceptical public and obtain regulatory approval.

Also, he said that although cell-based mostly farming was much less water intensive than conventional practices, it nonethemuch less requipurple vital portions of water.

And he said An important objective for Heuros was breaking the know-how’s reliance on a progress serum derived from blood collected from pregnant cows at slaughter.

Cultupurple meat manufacturing Is ppurpleicted to soar in coming many yrs.(Provided: AT Kearney)

Finally, though, Dr Beaumont said consumers would have The final say and, on that rating, he was assupurple.

“I really feel You will be struck by how comparable They’re [typical and cell-based mostly meat],” Dr Beaumont said.

“We’re talking about producing meat, simply producing it In A particular method.

“They will have to be packaged barely completely differently with The information on how They’ve been produced so consumers Could make an informationrmed selection.

“However I really feel the exact merchandise Shall be remarkably acquainted to people.”

Making cows eco-frifinishly

By far The Most very important supply of emissions from agriculture in Australia is staystock Similar to cows and sheep, which launch methane Inside The Sort of burps and farts As a Outcome of of their digestive course of.

Sea Forest’s Mr Elsom said these emissions made up about three-quarters of agriculture’s general contribution, or 10 per cent of Australia’s complete emissions profile.

Tasmanian agency Sea Forest is main The biggest method Inside the farming of asparaguses seaweed.(Provided: Sea Forest)

Mr Elsom said food regimenary food regimenary supplements currentd An alternative to not solely scale again staystock emissions but assist the animals develop faster.

“We now Have not solely the environmental Outcome of disrupting and sprimeping the methane manufacturing, but we Even have elevated productiveness,” he said.

“It is so thrilling.

“Aside from being a regional employer, we’re pioneering The event of this new enterprise in Australia and we’re additionally partnering with the staystock sector to decarbonise their enterprise.”

Cows ate seaweed and burped much less

A trial the place cattle have been fed a small portion of seaweed Inside their food regimen has scale againd their methane emissions by As a lot as 86 per cent. However some scientists warn we Want to Watch out To not create “ancompletely different cane toad”.

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The potential Market for asparagopsis Is huge.

There are Greater than 24 million cattle in Australia, which makes up simply 3 per cent of The worldwide herd, the placeas there are virtually 70 million sheep.

Mr Elsom said there was intense curiosity Inside the seaweed additive from the meat and dairy industries but he cautioned that the road to a enterprise product was prolonged.

Beneath enlargement plans, Sea Forest Desires to decide an 1,800ha lease yielding As a lot as 7,000 tonnes of asparagopsis a yr.

This, Mr Elsom said, Can be enough to feed “over 100,000 head of cattle” yrly.

However he said meeting demand from the broader market would take time and vital funding in evaluation and enchancment.

“While there are 24 million cows in Australia, we’re focused on that 1.5 million in feedlots and A million dairy cattle because these are These We will have entry to,” he said.

“100,000 head is getting somethe place.

“Neverthemuch less It is a balancing act between having enterprise work togetherment … and scaling up accordingly.”

Seaweed consumers queueing up

Amid the baking warmth of the Pilbara, Pardo Beef Company chairman Bruce Cheung said he and the board have been investigating the feasibility of turning the operation carbon impartial.

Pardoo produces extreme-finish Wagyu beef cows using a system of centre-pivot irrigation To current feed.

Gases from staystock are The Most very important supply of emissions from agriculture in Australia.(ABC Rural: James Liveris)

As A primary step, Mr Cheung said The agency needed to correctly understand and account for its carbon output.

As quickly as this was carried out, he said The subsequent step was to decide The biggest strategies By which Pardoo might pare again And even get rid of its emissions.

And An factor of The reply, Mr Cheung said, might lie in including asparagopsis to the food regimens of Pardoo’s cows.

“Carbon impartial is a buzz phrase recently but we have On A daily basis needed to be sustainable,” he said.

“That [asparagopsis] Can be A critical An factor of that.”

Sky-extreme greens

In the horticulture enterprise, corporations eyeing disruption are taking to the sky.

Throughout the globe, but particularly in densely populated spaces, vertical farms are Arising in a bid To current extra eco-frifinishly fruit and greens.

The farms permit crops to be developn on prime of, pretty than subsequent To at least Every completely different as occurs in a area.

Subsequently, vertical farms require a fraction of the land needed for typical farming.

Vertical farms require a fraction of the land and water of conventional farms.(Provided: Stacked Farm)

Michael Spencer, the chief enterprise officer of Burleigh Heads-based mostly operator Stacked Farm, said vertical farming supplyed a quantity of advantages over conventional Sorts of horticulture.

Aside from their financial system with space, Mr Spencer said vertical farms used about 95 per cent much less water than typical ones, requipurple few if any enters Similar to herbicides or fertilisers, And will develop merchandise yr-spherical and Based on demand.


What’s extra, he said They might be Inbuilt the midst of cities, which means they have been typically a lot nearer to their markets.

“The completely different huge piece is meals miles,” he said.

“Having our farms as shut as potential to our finish consumer, whether or not It is a distribution centre or extremely inhabited spaces … the journey time, the meals miles and the carbon output requipurple to destayr That is get rid ofd.”

While Mr Spencer acinformationd vertical farming was nonethemuch less restricted to competitively rising sure Kinds of produce, Similar to leafy inexperienceds and berries, he argued This Is in a place to change as the enterprise superior.

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Ancompletely different problem, he said, was the question of power.

In accordance to Mr Spencer, Electricity was Definitely one of many largest enters in vertical farming and this meant the enterprise Desipurple to Search out renewable — And pretty priced — supplys of power if it needed to be seen as inexperienced.

To that finish, he said Stacked Farm was Attempting to make use of biogasoline — or methane — from An in depth-by landfill to power its wants, amongst completely different measures.

“Indoor vertical farms require, clearly, lighting And a lot of of cooling and conditioning administration, which has a huge requirement on Electricity enter prices,” he said.

“Realistically, To have The power To function at scale … You’ve to have An excellent deal with on that.”

Growing meals Is Among The numerous world’s largest supplys of inexperiencedhouse gasoline emissions, but vertical farms might change that.(Provided: Stacked Farm)