Archive for the ‘agriculture’ Category

Cow Farts

February 8, 2014

Cow Farts

Have you heard that story of how methane from the flatulence of 90 German cows caused their dairy barn to explode? It’s probably bullcrap.

“While it’s true that cows can produce 250 to 500 liters of methane per day — mostly through burps that vent their fermenting cud — it’s unlikely that flatulence alone concentrated to the point of being flammable. The more likely suspect behind the methane, says a second report from Humnfelder Zeitung, is the common slurry farmers make from cow manure and urine for fertilizer applications. The soupy mixture puts out high levels of methane that can concentrate more easily than farts and burps, which tend to dissipate much more quickly in a ventilated dairy barn, just as it would in a car with a cracked window.

 ‘The cow itself has little to do with the risk of a methane explosion. This is only a danger when dealing with manure,’ said Dr. Hubery Beier, executive director of the local farmer’s association for Rasdorf.”

— “Media Laps Up Bunk Story on Exploding German Cow Farts,” Sam Brasch, Modern Farmer

Related:

“The Taxonomy of Cow Farts,” Christopher Taylor, Catalogue of Organisms

__________________

Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-iBD

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Kale

January 10, 2014

Kale

Kale. It’s a Superfood. It’s BIG. It’s everywhere, right?

“But what do the data say about how much kale is actually around? The U.S. Department of Agriculture started tracking the production of kale in 1997, and the closest proxy for consumption we have is something called “disappearance”: imports plus production minus exports. By that metric, divided by population, we arrive at the amount of kale the United States absorbed per capita ….”

“Kale was so much bigger in the 1990s,” Lydia DePillis, Washington Post blog (must-see graphs!)

___________________

Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-iu9

Original photo by Evan-Amos via Wikimedia

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Harvesting Trees

December 27, 2013

Harvesting Trees

For many Americans right now the Ghost of Christmas Past looks like a big dead tree shedding needles on the living room rug. In the next week that coniferous cadaver will be dragged outside and left at the curb. Even though that tree was purchased on the sidewalk, though, that’s not where it came from.

(more…)

Power Up with Bovine Burps

November 3, 2013

Power Up with Bovine Burps

Argentina raises a whole lot of cows, and they raise a whole lot of burps. When you’ve got four stomachs and eat plants all day, gas happens. That gas is mostly methane, and each cow belches about 300 liters of it daily. It’s a polluting greenhouse gas, but it’s also fuel. Argentinos want to use all that gas to power up their cars — or maybe even cook up all that beef.

More:

“Argentine scientists tap cow burps for natural gas,” Maximiliano Rizzi, Reuters

“El gas de las vacas puede alimentar un motor,” INTA Informa

Reuters video here 

______________

Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hFZ

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

China’s Farms: ‘The Good Earth’ No More

August 22, 2013

China's Farms: 'The Good Earth' No More

A fifth of China’s farmland is polluted by industrial effluent, sewage, excessive farm chemicals, or mining runoff. There’s carcinogenic cadmium in the rice. Heavy nitrogen fertilizer use is turning the soil acidic and less productive.

Tom Philpott summarizes recent reports:

“6 Mind-Boggling Facts About Farms in China, Tom Philpott, Mother Jones

___________

Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hcK

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Attention young people: The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl Buck.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

GOP Food Fight: ‘Starve the Poor’

July 29, 2013

GOP Food Fight: 'Starve the Poor'

Congressional Republicans want to starve food stamp deadbeats while rewarding hard-working American farmers with a Farm Bill. That’s a noble story, but it has a few holes in it. Most “farmer” recipients of those rewards are Agribiz millionaires, and the ‘help’ they get is ‘insurance’ for artificially high prices and big profits. And those SNAP ‘deadbeats’? Most are elderly, children, or disabled; the rest are the working poor who need help to get adequate nutrition because GOP politicians routinely defeat Living Wage bills.  Further irony: Many of those low-wage workers are in the food industry. These facts don’t alter Republican plans to bring back the Victorian workhouse.

(more…)

Who Needs Monsanto?

July 11, 2013

Who Needs Monsanto?

Patented Monsanto GMO seeds promise resistance to weeds and insects, but end up promoting the success of superweeds and superbugs. Farmers buying the pricy seeds end up using herbicides and insecticides anyway.

But don’t fear. Agricultural engineers have developed alternatives:

“Precision herbicide drones launch strikes on weeds,” New Scientist

“Agricultural drones for weed control,” Chris Anderson, DIY Drones

“Drone, Drone on the Range,” Caleb Garling, Modern Farmer

________________

Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-h0P

Image  (“Monsanto Harvests Patent Law”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Breeding Burpless Bovines

June 23, 2013

Breeding Burpless Bovines

Methane and other greenhouse gasses are heating up the world’s atmosphere, fueling global warming. 18% of those gases come from the burps and farts of the billions of cows in the vast herds feeding the world’s growing appetite for meat. Face it, Earth’s human population isn’t going to go Vegan, and cow-mounted catalytic converters just don’t cut it. What’s to be done?

(more…)

EU Food Imports from China

November 18, 2012

EU Food Imports from China

“Many Germans only realized how much of the food on their plates is harvested and produced in China when thousands of schoolchildren in eastern Germany were afflicted with diarrhea and vomiting two weeks ago in an epidemic thought to have been triggered by Chinese strawberries contaminated with norovirus..”

“…by last Friday, 262 reports on Chinese products had been received in Brussels for 2012 alone. They included noodles infested with maggots, shrimp contaminated with antibiotics, foul-smelling peanuts and candied fruit with an excessively high sulfur content (see graphic).”

(more…)

Illegitimate Lunch

August 20, 2012

Illegitimate Lunch

The media are buzzing about remarks by Congressman Todd Akin (R, MO-2) on “Illegitimate Rape,” but few have noticed his comments on “Illegitimate Lunch.” Missouri Republican Akin, a member of the Tea Party Caucus and candidate for the U.S. Senate, recently repeated his belief that the federal government should not subsidize school lunches for poor children. He made these comments after a hearty meal at the 60th annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair.

Update:

“Todd Akin Claims Federal School Lunch Programs Do Not ‘Fall Within the Framework of Our United States Constitution.’” Ian Millhiser, Nation of Change

___________________

Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-dRO

Image (“Caution: School Lunch”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 256 other followers