New Danish research and innovation have now cracked the code on how you can extract protein from grass in an effective way. The process is called biorefining, which covers a wide array of methods that can refine or improve the value of nature’s most basic resources. The perspectives are far-reaching. The company is called “BioRefine Denmark”.
Keep in mind, fresh grass can be used as feed for the two-stomached animals i.e. cows, sheep, and goats, but it cannot be digested by pigs or chickens. At least not until now. The new method developed in Denmark has enabled the extraction of protein in a powder form from the grass. This can subsequently be mixed into the pig feed and give the pigs the protein they need.
The Danish farming industry produces millions of pigs every year – primarily for export – and to this point, most of the pigs are being fed with soy protein, which is shipped to Denmark from South America and China.
The bigger thought is that by feeding more grass we can further reduce the carbon footprint associated with growing some of the more traditional feedstock. This clearly seems to be drawing some interest from larger investors and something we might want to monitor as we move forward. Obviously, it’s not a big deal at the moment but if the Chinese are able to start feeding more and more of their hogs grass it could certainly shift a portion of the soy and meal demand.
Danish grass production yields approximately 10 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. Green grass and clover contain 15 – 25% protein in terms of dry matter and biorefining experiments show that about 40% of the protein is extracted. All in all, this means that it is possible to produce 0.73 tonnes of ‘pure protein’ per hectare.” However, neither the current cultivation practice nor the grass varieties used are optimized in relation to biorefining. Adding improved biorefining technology makes possible the production of 1400 kg of extracted protein per hectare per year.
Reports circulating indicate the first full-scale BioRefining factory is on its way and could be open in Denmark this summer. The plant will have the capacity to process 50 tons of grass an hour 24/7 during which farmers can deliver fresh grass. The plant uses its Biorefining process and mixes some of its powders and producers an amazing and easy-to-use type of feed.
The Bio Refining company says they have a lot of producers who are interested in shifting some portions of their ground over to growing “grass” and selling directly to the plant for feed processing. The benefits are it is much easier to cultivate, causes less strain on the environment, and can now also be used as feed for the pigs. Investors also see protein from the grass in the long-run has the potential to be utilized for plant-based food for humans. Another big carbon benefit is the fact “grass” is a perennial crop. This means that farmers do not have to plow and sow every year, which helps further reduce CO2 emissions. Also, grass does not need as much fertilizer and plant protection products as other crops. (source: Niras)