Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)
Many questions may arise from farmers when they hear, “cannabis, marijuana, weed or hemp”. Leaving room for subjectivity helps shape a researcher’s mind and open the way for new potential and unexplored uses of this species.
Read through today’s edition on potential use of hemp as livestock feed.
A plight to develop cheaper feed sources, has prompted scientists to investigate the use of hemp in animal feed. Develop health feeds for your livestock from available natural resources helps farmers strive towards sustainable agriculture.
Is there a difference between hemp and marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana belong to the Cannabis sativa family and they share a great deal of similarities. Albeit, the chemical properties play a crucial role as hemp contains <0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas marijuana’s THC ranges between 5 to 35%. Hence, the subjectivity on whether it is safe and ideal to be consumed by livestock.
Supporting ideas for the introduction of hemp in livestock nutrition
The motive to use hemp comes from that cannabis is already used in the pharmaceutical world for different purposes. Hemp strains are widely documented and so are their properties and case uses, representing a great potential of adapting to livestock feeds. Oil from the seeds is often squeezed out mechanically just like in soya bean seeds, such that replicating the same process is possible.
In conjunction with other feed ingredients, hemp could be added to make palatable feeds in form of pellets or meal to livestock. The use of sweet-smelling additives like molasses enhances palatability by livestock, therefore, use of hemp would be blended in accordingly in feed.
Properties of hemp as a source of livestock feed
- Hemp could potentially improve livestock health and high performance as it contains fatty acids e.g., Omega 3 and 6.
- It is characterized by increased protein levels.
- It is high in fiber which aids with digestion.
- Contains ideal minerals which could be beneficial to livestock e.g., Iron, zinc, and copper.
State of the art and rules around the world on the use of hemp
Currently, planting of hemp or marijuana without a license is an illegal act in most world countries. Therefore, this has prompted many farmers and community members to sign petitions on the legalization it. The instance by the general public encourages activists to push such a motion till governments.
Also, making the youth understand the motive on the legalization of hemp is a sensitive matter, since excessive and uncontrolled use of the strains that can be classified as marijuana can be dangerous to the health. Therefore, prior to legalization a lot has to be taught to the youth on why farming communities are motivating and supporting the use of hemp as a feed source.
As community members around the globe, it is always good to look at both positive and negative aspects of hemp prior to ignoring the subject under discussion.
In summary, an in-depth understanding from scientists and feed producing companies hemp could be used as a potential feed source.