UK – The UK Agri-Tech Centre, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, Algapelago Ltd, and Harper Adams University, and backed by Innovate UK, has launched the groundbreaking ‘low energy kelp’ project to boost sustainable agriculture significantly.

The 24-month project, officially titled ‘Optimising Low Energy Extraction of Kelp for Soil and Livestock Nutrition,’ has secured a research grant to develop a unique two-stage extraction process. 

This process, unlike any other, will produce a consistent, high-quality liquid biostimulant and an animal feed supplement from cultivated kelp. These innovative products are designed to enhance soil and animal health while reducing reliance on chemical inputs.

Cultivated kelp is a sustainable and rich source of nutrients and bioactive compounds that benefit microbial communities, leading to healthier soil and livestock systems,” Ross Robertson, a farming technology specialist at the UK Agri-Tech Centre, elaborates. 

The project will undertake kilo-scale laboratory trials, prototype systems development, and controlled field trials to test the efficacy of these products under various environmental stresses. 

Harper Adams University will conduct in-vitro livestock trials focusing on the impact of seaweed supplements on rumen function and performance. 

Simultaneously, Rothamsted Research will lead plant trials to investigate how Algapelago’s seaweed biostimulant influences plant-soil interactions under abiotic stresses such as heat and drought.

Luke Ansell, head of operations at Algapelago, highlights the significance of this venture, stating “This project is a pivotal step towards unlocking the potential of seaweed in agriculture. We’re eager to lead the way in demonstrating how low-energy, sustainable practices can significantly benefit agriculture while adhering to environmental standards.

We’re excited to work with Algapelago Ltd and the UK Agri-Tech Centre on this initiative. Algapelago’s novel approach to seaweed processing supports sustainable farming and addresses the pressing challenges of modern agricultural practices in our changing climate,” Dr. Martin Blackwell, a soil scientist at Rothamsted Research, added. 

The ‘low energy kelp’ project is ambitious in its long-term goals and promises to be a cornerstone for future agricultural practices. 

It aims to drive the integration of sustainable resources like seaweed into mainstream farming, supporting environmental health while ensuring the resilience and productivity of the agriculture sector in the UK and beyond.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.