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
“The Taxonomy of Cow Farts,” Christopher Taylor, Catalogue of Organisms
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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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