News - April 17, 2008

Duckweed harvester launched

A prototype of an automated duckweed harvesting machine was launched at the Animal Sciences Group dairy farming research centre in Zegveld this week.

The machine is solar powered and can fish duckweed out of the water 24 hours a day in one fixed place. Duckweed is rich in protein and makes tasty food for cattle, while water boards regard it as a nuisance as it accumulates in waterways. After harvesting the weed has to be processed. ASG is investigating ways of conserving it, and has already managed to make it into compressed feed pellets. The minister of agriculture, Gerda Verburg, has shown interest in the project.