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Cows Flatulence Scrutinized

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Mike

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War on climate change targets flatulent cows
London Times ^ | 12/4/2005 | Toby McDonald

Posted on 12/09/2005 7:14:27 AM PST by Neville72

BRITISH scientists are fighting climate change by reducing the harmful greenhouse gases produced by flatulent cows.

Researchers claim that by altering the diet of cows they can cut the animals’ emissions of methane — a contributor to global warming — by up to 70%. Scientists and green groups concerned about climate change have traditionally focused their efforts on cars, lorries, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide.

But a study by French scientists published this year warned that flatulent farm animals must shoulder some of the blame.

There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emissions of the gas.

Carbon dioxide is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times the warming potential of CO2 so reducing its emission is also considered important.

In Scotland, where there is a greater concentration of agriculture than in other countries, cows produce 46% of all methane emissions.

Now scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say they have developed a diet that has done the most to reduce the amount of methane produced by cows.

They introduced a food additive, a mixture of organic sugars and a bacterium developed at the institute, into the cows’ diet. It is based on fumaric acid, a naturally occurring chemical essential to respiration of animal and vegetable tissues.

“In some experiments we got a 70% decrease in methane emissions, which is quite staggering,” said John Wallace, a biochemist at the institute who is leading the research team. In total about 14% of global methane comes from the guts of farm animals. It is worth doing something about.”

The study has received £150,000 funding from Scottish Enterprise, the government agency, and a 12-month commercial and scientific evaluation of the additive is under way. Wallace said if the tests were successful, the treatment would have a significant impact on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Cows need to ferment their low-grade food, such as hay and grass, to get any energy from it and the main by-product is methane.

Between 9% and 12% of the energy that a cow consumes is converted into methane, depending on diet, barn conditions and whether the cow is producing milk. The problem of wind is an expensive one for farmers — producing methane instead of milk or beef means that 10% of cattle feed is wasted.
 

Econ101

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I would have to say that I have scrutinized cattle flatuation but for different reasons. I helped in pinning a prolapsed uterus on a cow. I am glad it was the vet who took the brunt of the expelled gas and other debris and not I.
 
A

Anonymous

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They could remove more hot gas emissions from escaping into the atmosphere by just stifling the SD gopher trapper :wink: :lol: ......

A balmy 16 degrees out...No wind....
 

HAY MAKER

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One more reason,I have little use for france,leave it to them to come up with something like this..............good luck

35 here & calm.
 

Sandhusker

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1.4 Billions cows world wide - but how many humans? And here we are entering the chili-eating season.....
 

rkaiser

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At least with cattle it's predictable. With all of the different products consumed by humans, you never know what to expect.

I have fond personal memeories of those parties when we'd light em up. I guess that wasn't great for the environment either. 8)
 

Murgen

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I have fond personal memeories of those parties when we'd light em up. I guess that wasn't great for the environment either

Nice to see you remember some things about this years Agribition and the time you spent at that "hole in the wall" :D :D
 

rkaiser

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Nice to see you remember some things about this years Agribition and the time you spent at that "hole in the wall"

I didn't put that hole there Murg, I didn't even have any matches. :p
 

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