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PaulS's picture

The problem of methane from livestock

Livestock, wild animals and indeed humans produce methane as part of their digestive system. Jill's question implies that livestock, such as cows, should not be kept and instead crops should be produced instead.

Three points on that:

1. Organic, grass fed cattle, such as ours, produce 60% less methane than cattle fed grain. The density is controlled through regulation and also because their feed comes from the same farm.

2. Some land is too poor to be used successfully for growing crops, but can be used for growing grass to feed cattle and sheep for human consumption, which is therefore a better use of the land.

3. Much of the methane produced by cattle is contained within the slurry and muck. If fed through an anaerobic digestor, plus a bit of heat and green matter, the methane can be harvested for either direct heating or for production of electricity.

So, if livestock is kept organically, fed on grass and some of the methane in the slurry is converted to energy, the methane problem is drastically reduced. In fact, such livestock produces less methane then wild animals would living in the same area.