Oregon sheep study latest to study hemp potential as livestock feed

Oregon State University is feeding hemp biomass to sheep to research whether it can be used to feed livestock.

Faculty from the university are replacing alfalfa with different amounts of hemp biomass on five groups of sheep for the test trial, according to the Corvallis Advocate. In addition to a control group, there will be two low-hemp groups and two high-hemp groups.

The researchers will study how hemp biomass impacts animals and their meat. The meat will be tested for smell and taste to determine the commercial viability of hemp feed.

The researchers are also looking to see whether biomass affects the tenderness of livestock meat, giving it a longer shelf life.

The researchers say their study could benefit farmers looking for alternative feedstuff to lower costs and give hemp farmers a way to dispose of biomass they don’t use.

Serkan Ates, an assistant OSU professor working on the study, says the the chemical composition of spent biomass is “really high quality, even higher than alfalfa.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently does not recognize hemp as safe for animal consumption.

Researchers at Kansas State University recently announced a $200,000 federal grant to research hemp in cattle feed.