Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: Progress! Gassy cows to produce less gas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    5,892

    Smile Progress! Gassy cows to produce less gas

    Finally, good news on the Global warming/flatulence front.

    Researchers find way to reduce cattle methane

    Beef farmers can breath easier thanks to University of Alberta researchers who have developed a formula to reduce methane gas in cattle.

    By developing equations that balance starch, sugar, cellulose, ash, fat and other elements of feed, a Canada-wide team of scientists has given beef producers the tools to lessen the methane gas their cattle produce by as much as 25 per cent.
    Phew!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    12,410
    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    Finally, good news on the Global warming/flatulence front.

    Researchers find way to reduce cattle methane



    Phew!
    I'm still wondering why we don't just do to all cows like we do with dairy cows: attach something to suck out the useful product. I know, they're out in the fields away from buildings etc. Okay, maybe we need something you can strap to their backs and plug into the cow's bottom. A small compressor, if needed, can be solar powered with large wings drapping over or projecting to the side from the tops of the animals. Yes, I can see it now, "Winged Cyborg Bovine Save World". Or maybe we should call them "Cyborvine".
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    14,315
    Personally, I don't think they produce enough methane....

    But that's just me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    18,442
    I've read somewhere else that people are also trying to have cows use the intestinal bacteria of kangaroos, which produce acetic acid instead of methane.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    12,410
    I have white vinegar, red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar... Am I to believe we will soon have cowpie vinegar? :-/
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    13,886
    The mental image of large herds of cows wandering about with wazoo tubes hooked to a compressor on their backs is among the funniest things crossing my mental screen in months. Then my subconscious added solar panels to run the compressors and it got even better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    5,892
    Hmm. Tinker a bit more and we get- jetpacks!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,786
    Eating less beef and fewer dairy products would produce less gas too and would use up fewer natural resources. I don't see the point of this 'innovation'.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    22,006
    Quote Originally Posted by mike alexander View Post
    The mental image of large herds of cows wandering about with wazoo tubes hooked to a compressor on their backs is among the funniest things crossing my mental screen in months.
    Not to take away from Praedst's picture of the Delorean Moo Cow from the movie "back to the pasture" but; here's a real image.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617
    Good grief. I never paid attention to cattle gas emissions. I wonder if there's a an obsessive/compulsive element to some of this research?

    We need more trees and other greenery, to balance out natural methane sources, in my opinion.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    7,157
    Eating less beef and fewer dairy products would produce less gas too and would use up fewer natural resources. I don't see the point of this 'innovation'.
    Often people don't like change, including dietry changes. Many people find it hard to change their diets even when their lives hang in the balance. So reducing the amount of methane released by reduces the destructiveness of an industry that people are unlikely to get rid of for a long time.

    One thing we could do is use pigs, chickens or other non ruminants to produce beef. This is a little tricky but it's not impossible to genetically engineer an animal so it's mucles are more beef like. Not sure how far this could be practically taken. Another option would be to grow beef but not use a ruminant digestive system. For example beef muscle could be cultured using nutrient solutions.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    7,157
    Good grief. I never paid attention to cattle gas emissions. I wonder if there's a an obsessive/compulsive element to some of this research?
    Australia's largest anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are from it's sheep and cattle industries. (Yes, I know. Describing something comes out of a cow as anthropogenic sounds funny.)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    7,157
    One thing that could be done is for to pass the air from feedlot ventilation systems through baffles that act as a catalyst for the breakdown of methane. Just how practical or expensive this option is, I don't know.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617

    Oh

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    Australia's largest anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are from it's sheep and cattle industries. (Yes, I know. Describing something comes out of a cow as anthropogenic sounds funny.)
    I was considering the entire planet. In the back of my mind were the Siberian tundra, holding millions of tons of methane, thawing out. Also there are methane layers at the bottom of our oceans, which a change in currents could bring to the surface, to be evaporated into the air. We can do little about those resevoirs of methane, and I'll grant, it seems the cattle emissions are controlable.

    I'd say we'd be better off to find a way to refine methane from out of our atmosphere,. than to fret about f--ts.

    I still think the greater danger is the diminishing forests and other plants, which produce the oxygen in our atmosphere.
    Last edited by Salty; 2009-May-12 at 12:27 AM. Reason: add "...change of currents bring to surface..."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    5,892
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    I still think the greater danger is the diminishing forests and other plants, which produce the oxygen in our atmosphere.
    Hm. What if we genetically modify the cattle gut bacteria to produce oxygen instead of methane?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    2,644
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    I was considering the entire planet. In the back of my mind were the Siberian tundra, holding millions of tons of methane, thawing out. Also there are methane layers at the bottom of our oceans, which a change in currents could bring to the surface, to be evaporated into the air. We can do little about those resevoirs of methane, and I'll grant, it seems the cattle emissions are controlable.

    I'd say we'd be better off to find a way to refine methane from out of our atmosphere,. than to fret about f--ts.

    I still think the greater danger is the diminishing forests and other plants, which produce the oxygen in our atmosphere.
    I remember learning, in mysteries of science, that cattle produce about ten percent of the total methane being released into the atmosphere. Correct me if I am wrong, though, I am trying to sort through about 16yrs of memory, but if that's even close to accurate...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617

    Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by PraedSt View Post
    Hm. What if we genetically modify the cattle gut bacteria to produce oxygen instead of methane?
    This reply is from my ignorance of many details; but I think that it would be cheaper, safer and quicker to develop refining plants which could take methane from our atmosphere. I'm considering unknown consequences to genetically modify the cattle's digestive tracts. And, finding the type of bacteria to produce oxygen while determining which present bacteria produce methane would take time and expensive R&D. In my opinion.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    463
    Aren't cows carbon neutral? The grass consumes co2, the cows consume grass and release methane which is a different organic molecule but still carbon.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617

    I don't know...

    Quote Originally Posted by eric_marsh View Post
    Aren't cows carbon neutral? The grass consumes co2, the cows consume grass and release methane which is a different organic molecule but still carbon.
    Aren't cows carbon based life forms? Doesn't change time and expense of R&D, in either event, I would think.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617

    You know better than I...

    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    I remember learning, in mysteries of science, that cattle produce about ten percent of the total methane being released into the atmosphere. Correct me if I am wrong, though, I am trying to sort through about 16yrs of memory, but if that's even close to accurate...
    ...when I was in General Science (late 1950's), we didn't talk about cattle emissions.

    Anyway, I'll accept your figure. I still think we should be more concerned with oxygen production by plants than methane production by cattle. Plants, atmosphere and oceans have in the past processed more methane out of the atmosphere than we can anticipate from cattle emissions, I would think.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    5,892
    Quote Originally Posted by eric_marsh View Post
    Aren't cows carbon neutral? The grass consumes co2, the cows consume grass and release methane which is a different organic molecule but still carbon.
    Good point. I think methane is supposed to be a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but don't quote me on this.

    EDIT: Having done a quick search, I find the EPA says
    Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources.
    EPA/Methane

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    12,410
    So, getting back to the Cow picture, maybe we do just need to include an afterburner to take care of the bovine methane problem.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    28
    Wow, nice news. Thanks for sharing the link for further reading.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617
    I have a better, cheaper and quicker idea yet again!

    Why don't we just start feeding ungulates grass, hay and grains: instead of food pellets with meat meals mixed in? I can't help but wonder if meat meals in an herbvidore's digestive tract (which tract originally digested only plant life) would cause more than usual gas?
    Really, testing the difference in amount and type of gas emissions between pellet fed and flora fed cattle might show surprising results.
    Just a thought.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    18,442
    Methane comes as part of the bacterial breakdown of cellulose, feeding them protein isn't what's causing it.
    Don't fall into the "natural is better" trap.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  26. #26
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    22,006
    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Methane comes as part of the bacterial breakdown of cellulose..
    I wasn't sure I knew exactly why, but I do know how certain vegetables react in my system. And believe me, it aint the meat.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617
    Nag, nag, nag. OK, I'll accept the facts.

    But, I stick to my opinion that we should be planting forests hands over fists, where ever we can.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617
    Oh, good, I get to correct, right below my post.

    Actually, I'm going to quibble with your facts.

    You see, we humans are omnivores. Our digestive tract handles both fauna and flora. I still maintain that an herbivore digestive tract will be upset by meat meal. That doesn't mean there's not flatulence with only flora intake by ungulates. There certainly is flatulence with flora only fed ungulatres. I'm maintaining that scientists need to research to discern the difference of ungulate emissions, between flora only fed ungulates and feed pellet fed ungulates.

    I think I wrote that right.
    Last edited by Salty; 2009-May-15 at 08:13 PM. Reason: add "...scientists need to..."

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    12,410
    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    Oh, good, I get to correct, right below my post.

    Actually, I'm going to quibble with your facts.

    You see, we humans are omnivores. Our digestive tract handles both fauna and flora. I still maintain that an herbivore digestive tract will be upset by meat meal. That doesn't mean there's not flatulence with only flora intake by ungulates. There certainly is flatulence with flora only fed ungulatres. I'm maintaining that scientists need to research to discern the difference of ungulate emissions, between flora only fed ungulates and feed pellet fed ungulates.

    I think I wrote that right.
    Frankly, I'd be surprised if thay haven't.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

Similar Threads

  1. Gassy Sombroro Galaxy
    By Jerry in forum Astronomy
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 2010-Oct-01, 04:31 PM
  2. antibiotics in cows
    By tofu in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: 2008-Sep-20, 10:49 PM
  3. When were the gas giants known to be gassy?
    By parallaxicality in forum Astronomy
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 2008-Apr-30, 01:42 AM
  4. Horoscopes - for cows!
    By TriangleMan in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 2006-Sep-30, 08:28 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •