21 Aug 2014

Benefits of fish silage confirmed

4:27 pm on 21 August 2014

A conference in Wellington has heard the results of trials which confirmed production and health benefits of liquid silage produced from fish guts for cattle and sheep.

Senior Lecturer in Livestock Health and Production at Lincoln University Jim Gibbs told a seafood industry conference of the positive spinoffs that the silage could have for livestock.

Gibbs has been working on the project which originated from Kypros Kotzikas, of the United Fisheries, who developed a more sustainable fish silage product using a new low energy process.

Trials on dairy cattle and milking sheep have confirmed international studies that have shown fish oil and protein can reduce methane output from livestock, increase the level of healthier unsaturated fats in meat and milk and control internal parasites or worms in livestock, he said.

Dr Gibbs does not anticipate the industry will start using fish silage on a large commercial scale as a result of the findings.

He says the volume of fish waste material that would be available would be a limiting factor, but he still sees the potential for specialised use of the silage.

"In the medium term we were looking to trail blaze a path from one important primary industry (fishing) to the pastoral primary industries.

Dr Gibbs said that could include producing milk with a higher unsaturated fat or Omega 3 content for infant formulas, for example.