There is no doubt that in the past couple of weeks everyone in Australia has finally become aware of the severity of the drought we are facing, and how it is impacting farmers and communities in regional Australia.
I have to tell you about a phone call to our dear friend Margaret. Margie and her husband are both in their 70's and manage a cattle station near Richmond. I'm sure you can imagine them - sun-hardened "salt of the earth" wonderful people.
Margie is a very special person to us because she is the reason that we are here selling Seagreen, that I am sending this SEA-mail, that we have got to connect with all of you! It was her phone call 2 years ago that prompted us to go back into business. If you want you can click here to read about what happened.
Anyway here we are two and a half years later and the drought is even worse. Every day I look around at scenes like the photo I took at the top - green grass and fat cattle - and it reminds me of how lucky we are on the Tablelands and how much farmers in other areas are battling. The "Queensland Country Life" had an amazing front page photo that you've probably seen - a small child on a parched paddock with a huge storm cloud and the promise of rain towering behind her.
From this photo Grahame was prompted to ring Margie. The other thing we love about Margie is that she is probably one of our greatest Seagreen ambassadors. Her starving cattle are kept going with Seagreen every day in their drinking water, and if she has one that's down she mixes up a bottle full and pours the seaweed down its throat. She just absolutely swears by it, and on the phone she told Dad another reason why...
Last week they had to send another 2 truckloads of cattle to their other station down South where they've had some rain and there is grass. It was a long trip in scorching temperatures and with the cattle already so poor they expected to lose 5 or 6 per truck.
When the truckies stopped to spell the cattle there were some, too weak to stand, lying in the bottom of the truck. To their surprise they were all able to struggle to their feet and get out to join the herd.
Arriving at the Southern station they unloaded the cattle and reported back to Margie.
They had only lost one cow!
"It's the Seagreen that did it again" she says. And she is absolutely right.
What Margie doesn't know though is that Texas Tech University in the USA have scientifically proven* that Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed increases immune function in livestock and supports them through stress such as drought and cross-country transport. And the really incredible fact is that the cattle don't even have to be given the seaweed directly - it has the same effect when the cattle feed on pasture that has been sprayed and grown with seaweed!
But wait - there's more! Meat that comes from cattle feeding on pasture sprayed with Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed actually lasts longer on the shelf. Again scientifically proven at Texas Tech Uni.
Recently scientists at JCU in Townsville found that adding seaweed to a cows diet can reduce methane emissions from cattle. In their test JCU used seaweed from the Great Barrier Reef, but Norwegian Seaweed Researchers proved many years ago that Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed improves the biome in a cow's gut, thus converting feed energy to muscle instead of it being lost to methane. We wrote a blog about it.
So how does seaweed work? What is it in Seagreen that produces these results? Why are farmers like you finding that fruit and vegetables grown with seaweed are firmer, tastier, healthier? Why do cut flowers last longer, lettuces stay fresh and crisp longer, potatoes sit in a sack until next growing season - when grown with Seagreen?
It simply has to do with the effect that the natural growth hormones in seaweed have in strengthening individual cells, and it doesn't matter whether those cells are plant cells or animal cells - the end result is the same. These hormones plus vitamins, minerals and alginate are all in Seagreen as a naturally perfect combination.
Seeing farmers on TV struggling and cattle dying is hard. Feeling like it's such a massive problem and we can't do much is even harder. We have done our best to help farmers with special prices for Seagreen and for transport, but how I wish I could send a massive truck full of bags of Seagreen and just give it all to the farmers for their cattle. I know it would make a difference. It's frustrating.
*Allen, Vivien & Pond, Kevin & Saker, Korinn & Fontenot, J.P. & Bagley, C & Ivy, R.L. & Evans, R.R. & Schmidt, R.E. & Fike, John & Zhang, Xunzhong & Ayad, Jamal & Brown, Philip. (2000). Tasco: Influence of a brown seaweed on antioxidants in forages and livestock—A review1. J Anim Sci. 79. . 10.2527/jas2001.79E-SupplE21x.
Blog post by Liz