Cows, Gas, and Bovine Research

UPDATE: December 2015–Bovine Emissions
Everyone has gas–but the poor cow seems to be scrutinized more than anyone when it comes to burps and flatulence. It’s an issue now on the international radar. A vaccine to lower greenhouse gas emissions in cattle has reached testing stage in New Zealand–while methane emissions from cattle in Australia are 24% lower than previously estimated, according to an analysis of new Australian research data.

Previous links:
This article pokes fun at those who want cattle to “just put a damn cork in it.”  Flatulent Cows and the Global Warming Hysteria.

Dr. Jude Capper uses research and social media to enlighten the public about the benefits of beef production. As this article explains, she presented a CAST publication in Washington, D.C., based around the question “Is a Cow Eating My Lunch?”  Click here for the research paper: Animal Feed vs. Human Food 

Click here for a report claiming that cows are a gas, gas, gas. I’m just passing this on–obviously, you can read this and other reports to draw conclusions. This latest comprehensive scientific study claims the United States is spewing 50% more methane than the federal government currently estimates. The alleged culprits?  Oil, natural gas–and cows.  Meanwhile, in Scotland, a team of international scientists hopes to breed a herd of burpless cows

Squeeze, Don’t Pull (edited from an earlier blog on this site)

Bovine air emissions weren’t much of a concern when I hand-milked our family cow in the 1960s. Personal

experience taught me to be more worried about Bossy’s solid particulates. As noted Midwest writer Michael Perry says, it’s foolish to stand behind a sneezing cow. And the old Guernsey had other ways to vex a 13-year-old kid, like coming in for milk time with a mud-caked udder or twitching at a fly violently enough to kick over a partially filled bucket. It was years later when I first learned of CO2 concentrations and climate change possibilities.

The real pollution might be coming from the alarmists on both sides: those who blindly push for regulations without knowing the facts or the consequences, and those who loudly attack any regulations no matter how beneficial they might be.

Credible research, thoughtful debate, and sensible policymaking will help achieve what we need: a strong ag economy and a safe environment. Back on my boyhood farm, we needed the milk, and even though I’m not much for rules, occasionally I wished someone would have regulated Bossy. I put up with a few of her tail-slaps to the head while I was milking, but when the tail contained solid cow emissions, it was time to clean up my environment. Where was the EPA when I needed it?

Note:  The best way to clear the air is through the use of unbiased research and scientific analysis. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology has two publications dealing with air quality. 
·         Air Issues Associated with Animal Agriculture: A North American Perspective: A team of experts led by Dr. Larry Jacobson examine a large amount of data and go beyond the generalizations and accusations often associated with the air quality topic. Dr. Frank Mitloehner presented the timely material at three rollout events in Washington, D.C. The paper and a video of the presentation are available here

Readers can also access an “Ag quickCAST” of this paper–a one-page summary of the information. Many other Ag quickCASTs are also available on the CAST website

by dan gogerty  Note: photo from Flicker, CushingMemorialLibrary

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