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Will cattle get high on hemp by-product feed?

The study is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture
cattle photo by ron winter 2020
Photo by Ron Walter

Researchers at Kansas State University have a project to explore use of hemp as a cattle feed.

While the last U.S. Farm Bill legalized hemp production in the U.S.A., approval from the Federal Drug Administration on levels of hemp concentration would be required before it can be fed to animals.

Feeding hemp products to cattle is still prohibited due to the potential for accumulation of cannaboid residues in meat and milk, said Han Coetzee of the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Hemp use to date involves oil, seed, fibre and medicines. By-products from these could be fed animals and the cellulose content in the plants would be good for cattle.

Questions arise about the safety of hemp as an animal feed because of THC intoxication and possible presence of other cannaboids.

The research has found that some cannaboids are more readily absorbed in the rumen than others and will now study tissue and milk depletion profiles after feeding experiments.

Follow-up experiments will examine the effect of feeding hemp on animal behaviour and immune function.

The study is funded by a $200,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net