WORK is underway in northern Laos on a new 800 square metre molasses block factory and retail outlet, which will use Australian technology to reduce both methane from cattle and help address poverty across South East Asia.
AgCoTech's technologically advanced GHG (green house gas) methane-busting blocks are designed to enable cattle to extract the maximum nutritional benefit from feed while minimising methane.
Research has shown improved nutrition improves the fertility of cow herds and enables sale cattle to reach slaughter weights at a younger age. Medications can also be included in the blocks to control internal parasites, including the endemic giant liver fluke.
Poor quality feed is a particular issue in South East Asia, particularly during the protracted dry season.
The blocks have been developed based on in-country research by the University of Sydney, and with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Business Partnerships Platform.
The GHG blocks are currently being produced in AgCoTech's plant at Crestmead and exported to Laos as part of ongoing trials.
AgCoTech chief executive officer Andrew Mason said once the new factory near Luang Prabang was up and running, GHG blocks would be distributed from an adjoining warehouse to smallholder farmers.
"We are creating local employment opportunities and economic growth in developing farming communities around the world," Mr Mason said. "By delivering innovative technology that improves animal nutrition and animal welfare, farming communities are able to improve the quality and health of their livestock and make positive environmental contributions."
Mr Mason said AgCoTech would produce the blocks using local suppliers and labour.
The GHG blocks are also currently being trialed in northern Australian cattle herds as a tool to help ensure the red meat industry meets its promise of being carbon neutral by 2030.
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The story Methane-busting block factory construction underway first appeared on Queensland Country Life.