Monday, January 22, 2007

No, Kate, Don't Feed Your Cattle Refried Beans!

In late November, The United Nations released a report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow Environmental Issues and Options, which detailed the effects of industrial agriculture on GWG emissions:

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

The report concluded that cattle flatulence puts more greenhouse gases into the air than The Automobile, in fact constitutes somewhere between 20 and 30 per cent of the anthropogenic global warming problem.

This finding prompts Kate over at SDA to ask:

So does this mean that I should stop feeding the cows nachos and refried beans when I invite my father-in-law's cattle herd over to watch Monday Night Football?

That a city-boy like me should have to offer Kate advice on farming is astounding, but here I go! The answer is yes! Definitely stop feeding the cattle nachos and beans!

Because the concept of cattle as GWG emitters did not suddenly spring into existence with the U.N. report. For example, there is R. A. Leng's paper on the topic, Quantitative Ruminant Nutrition - A Green Science, which dates from 1993. And there is this 2002 account from the BBC, "Cow feed researchers smell success".

(Not that I am an expert or even did much research for this post. Personally, I first heard of the idea of breeding "green cows" at the ScienceDaily website in 2002. However, it appears I still know more about it than our "so-called" farm girl)

And you know what, Kate, it all comes down to diet, the design of eco-friendly cattle feeds. From the BEEB:

Aromatic plant oils in cattle feed could make cows less flatulent and dung smell sweeter if a research project EU-funded project led by scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen is successful.


Using aromatic extracts of herbs such as thyme, mint and others could reduce the level of fermentation in the rumen - causing less flatulence and a more bearable smell.


Dr John Wallace, head of the microbial metabolism research group at the Rowett, said: "We know that the release of methane from ruminants is extremely damaging to the environment.

"We believe our work has the potential to halt this increase and help stabilise the environment by taking a natural route to improved rumen fermentation."

Again, its shocking that a BigCityLib should have to lecture a rural Conservative on what is essentially a rural issue, but let me repeat: lay off the nachos and beans, Kate! That's not being helpful!

Besides environmental concerns, cows don't like nachos and refried beans! I suspect that if I were ever to visit your farm I would find some very sad-eyed cattle. Shame on you!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the smile !

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it took her that long to comment on this report!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

well I'll have to bow to your authority on this matter.

Anyone with their head stuck so far up their own arse end MUST be an expert on flatulence.

Good on BCL, you have found your true calling as a fart expert.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Kate's farm, I'm thinking of a movie which features a scene in which people are buried in a field up to their necks and a big combine-harvester comes by and lops their heads off.

Does anyone remember the title of that movie?

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I get the Trawna Sun delivered t' my door every Sunday. It started comin' 'bout a year ago. I never ordered it an' nobuddy ever asked if I wanted it or if I'd pay fer it.

Yesterday, there was a 'pinion piece in the Comment section by Greg Weston. It was on GHG's an' the headline an' subhead both alluded t' the cow farts. In the article, Weston sez cow farts make up only 3% o' Canadee's GHG emissions. Mebbe KateyGal read the headline but din't bother readin' the whole story.

Fartin' ain't the onliest thing wrong with cows. Down in Brazil, they're choppin' down the rain forrest so's t' make more cowpastures. Before the cows even let the teensiest fart, they're the cause o' troublems in the dead-trees-don't-eat-CO2 department.

I seen sumbuddy who sed sumpin' 'bout the bigass herds o' bison that roamed the plains an' howcum their fartin' din't cause such troublems. Mebbe there was more bison then than there are cattle now. Mebbe not. Anybuddy know? I betcha when them buffalo was roamin', there was more forrests in North Merka gobblin' up CO2.

The big producers o' GHG's is the electricity generators, the oil an' gas industry an' vehicles. We can cut down on electricity used through reduction, conservation an' adoption o' more efficient technologies like CF light bulbs. We can put more hybrid vehicles on the road t' cut down on the need fer oil. We can insulate an' weather-proof our houses an' use less gas fer heatin'.

There's plenty o' good things we can do that don't involve swearin' off hamburgers an' milkshakes.


Alison said...

Nice that Kate has friends to watch TV with though.

Anonymous said...

Kate has a father-in-law?

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