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Bovine Beano

September 8, 2010

Well, thank our savior for this one

A bovo-boffin in Pennsylvania says he has saved life on planet Earth from being gradually stifled into extinction by burgeoning clouds of cattle-belch methane. The solution is apparently to feed cows oregano.

“Cattle are actually a major producer of methane gas and methane is a significant greenhouse gas,” says Alexander Hristov, dairy nutrition prof at Penn State uni. “In fact, worldwide, livestock emits 37 percent of anthropogenic methane.”

I have to say, the whole “cows are going to kill the planet” meme always gets to me.  Is the methane production only relegated to cows, and not all the other cud-chewing animals?  If not, then why didn’t the Plains Bison greatly increase the temperature of the earth before they thinned out?  Is there nothing in the way of sheep gas that’s threatening the planet?

On the bright side, I’m all for a little oregano on my steak.  I wonder if this is a secret infusion practice?  Yes, I know milk cows and steak cows are different, but hey, the range cattle need some work.  And oregano is a fine weed to grow in the back 4000 these days, I’m sure.  Maybe we can mix a little into the sake for the Kobe beef?

Apparently, it took Hristov six years of feeding different things to his experimental cattle to discover his herby belch-squelch technology. Apart from saving the planet, it has a worthwhile side benefit: it makes the cows produce more milk. This result was to be expected as methane is full of energy (it is a useful fuel, of course, delivered in the forms of liquefied or compressed natural gas).

By the way, here’s an example of unintended consequences that are actually good.  And it really is good… increased milk production without an expensive hormone additive would actually be good.  Wait until someone figures out that the oregano isn’t “organic” though, that’ll set some agency off.

And yes, if you’re really wondering, I’m thinking it’s been a slow news day/week/month, and that we need something else to talk about other than taxes, failed stimuli, and an overzealous estimate of the Republican take-over in November…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 1:59 pm

    well, it’s at least a “naturapathic” approach, no?
    it also gets the milk 1 step ahead wrt flavor before it gets turned into Mozarella cheese for pizzas 🙂

  2. September 8, 2010 9:39 am

    Oregano, huh? Wonder if it works the same way on people . . .

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