This is fun

A dun question at least and perhaps we’ve a farming type that can tell us:

Instead of confining thousands of animals and managing their millions of litres of waste in lagoons that release methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), the Bradleys raise 200 pigs at a time on pasture and in wooded areas, where the animals’ manure is integrated into the ground naturally as fertiliser.

Does the decomposition process of pig poo differ in the two sets of circumstances? Does the atmosphere get less methane from one or the other?

28 thoughts on “This is fun”

  1. I would have thought using lagoons would have given you the options of capturing or flaring the methane.

  2. Don’t I remember somewhere in the past seeing a photo of a car with a bag of pigshit on the roof, with the car allegedly running on the methane? (Or was it just a Labour placard?)

    In a lagoon, there’s no runoff (hopefully) to pollute watercourses. They’d be good places to drown certain types of rape gangs.

  3. Yes, slurry put in a pit and not aerated with tend to break down anaerobically and this will produce methane. If you aerate the slurry then you get aerobic bacteria and no methane. Its the principle behind biodigestion – you use anaerobic bacteria in a controlled environment to digest waste products (which could include pig manure) to produce methane which is burned in engines to produce electricity.

  4. I imagine there will be a difference from it being spread thinly over soil where microbes, insects and plants can help with the digestion process, compared to a big concrete pool of raw oxygen starved waste where only anaerobic digestion can happen.

    However rather than solving the problem by using lots of land for a few animals (with extra carbon burnt as you try and find them) as Arthur says capturing the methane and using it as a renewable source of energy (heating water etc) is likely a far more environmentally friendly solution.

  5. Mate of mine with a decent sized dairy herd makes more money from converting the cowshit into electricity than he does from the milk.

  6. With slurry no doubt the aerated/non-aerated’s true. In nature it’s a bit more complicated. The pig shit will be eaten by something. And that something will have anaerobic bacteria in its gut allows it to digest the shit. And it’ll fart methane. Lot of beetles do.
    For complete bollocks there’s the environmentalists’ objection to livestock. Given any bit of land, water & sunlight you will get vegetation. Since all plants are roughly within the same band of efficiency at using sunlight, water etc to make plant material the mass created is similar. All vegetation will get eaten by something. All of those somethings use similar gut bacteria to break down plant material producing the same metabolic byproducts. In fact, you can ignore the animals. For the purpose of the discussion, the animals are just the containers the bacteria use to get around in. In other words, agriculture & livestock make no fucking difference.

  7. Typical greeny ‘science’. If you cannot see it, it doesnt exist. See electric cars and the fossil fuel power stations which recharge them.

  8. “They’d be good places to drown certain types”

    my farm hol as a kid- play hiden’seek with the farmer’s family- spot good place on the other side of a corrugated iron fence, climb it – spot another good place on other side of brown field. Get half way across- crust breaks, neck deep in cow shit. 10 mins later- “found” and hauled out by farmer, told my mum it was a slurry pit 9′ deep.

  9. “Small, climate-friendly food producers…”

    Isn’t this the type of subsistence agriculture that people around the world have been abandoning since the industrial revolution because it is back-breaking, boring, and hopelessly inefficient?

  10. @BiS

    All of those somethings use similar gut bacteria to break down plant material producing the same metabolic byproducts.

    Is that true ? I was under the impression that termites don’t contribute methane when they digest whatever it is they eat.

  11. Aren’t termitei hills ( and ants’ ) built with ventilation shafts, not just for oxygen but because otherwise they’d suffer from runaway greenhouse feedback and cook the inhabitants ?

  12. Soooo… Greenies proposing to introduce known topsoil-wreckers and nitrification “disasters” into their Natural Environment… Hope they like stinging nettles…
    You have to laugh…

    Oh, and given that the inevitable decomposition will be slower, but still based on the same chemistry and bacteria… In the end the amount of methane produced is more or less the same.
    And as pointed out.. impossible to collect and be useful to someone.

  13. @Gunker… Further to Mr W’s comment. I’m sure I read somewhere that termites produce more methane than all the world’s cattle combined.

  14. “Small, climate-friendly food producers…”

    Isn’t “small” the opposite of “climate-friendly” in food production?

  15. Ooooh, no, termites are a known and large source of atmospheric methane.

    Trust me to get this arseways. Thanks for the corrections

    “global methane emission from this source is estimated to be about 20 million tonnes each year.”

  16. Ooooh, no, termites are a known and large source of atmospheric methane.

    Trust me to get this arseways. Thanks for the corrections

    “global methane emission from this source is estimated to be about 20 million tonnes each year.”

    Corrected blockquotes. Murpries law strikes again.

  17. Baron, apparently there is a termite colony in South America larger than Great Britain.

    Please can we send Moonbat, Attenbore, Greta, etc. etc. to Brazil to explain to those pesky ‘mites the damage they are doing to our planet? Also, they can get up close and personal with the flora and fauna and hopefully join the eco system by: getting lost in the jungle/ eaten by said termites / cooked by pygmies / eaten by piranha/ squeezed warmly by an anaconda / you get the idea.

  18. Addolff

    check out the film The Naked Jungle with Charlton Heston, lots of top tips there for invading killer ants.

  19. Where did the notion that methane is a ‘potent greenhouse gas’ come from? A quick look at the absorption spectra of various gases in the atmosphere shows that methane covers a small amount of a few wavelengths that are already covered by water.

    Also, there is very little methane in the atmosphere and what there is tends to oxidise very quickly.

    And yet somehow, ‘experts’ have decided we’ve got to eat worms instead of steak or we’re all gonna fry.

    Weird.

  20. Yes. In that it takes place over a longer period and there’ll be incomplete decomposition or decomposition by microorganisms that pro duce methane – because they’re not crowded out by the ones that do.

    And we’re talking about release over the course of years where there’s time for the created methane to decompose or recombine with something else before more is added.

    Oh, and it doesn’t smell like pig shit for miles downwind.

    Of course, it does require you to have several orders of magnitude more cheap land available to devote to pig ranching that more intensive

  21. afaik, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (much more than CO2), but doesn’t last long in the atmosphere (half life seven years according internet).

  22. Sorry Addolff.. Termites won’t eat Attenbore ( or anyone else, alas…).. They’re strictly vegetarian, which explains the methane…

    @KevinB That methane is a more effective greenhouse gas is given. It is more easily excited ( that adsorption band..) than CO2, and can hold a lot more potential kinetic energy than CO2.
    Better at passing it along as well.. It sort-of acts like a bumpercar with springloaded bumpers when charged, as opposed to CO2 which behaves more like the classic billiard ball.

    All a matter of physics, done by real experts.
    Of course, besides the obvious global effect of: more methane in atmosphere = more heat retention = higher temperature, there’s at least 12 layers of mechanisms between simple physics and the weather at breakfast two decades from now..
    Which is where the Modellers and “Experts” get it wrong, of course.

    Methane is like cyanide.. You don’t want too much cyanide around in one place, since it’s obviously agressive poison, yet it’s fundamentally crucial to our existence given that it’s the basis for making amino acids, which we sort-of need to exist..
    Large difference between the raw characteristics of something and the behaviour/effects in a complex system where it’s only a trace amount..

  23. “Termites won’t eat Attenbore ( or anyone else, alas…).. They’re strictly vegetarian, which explains the methane…”

    Hold on, what about that wonderful documentary, Leiningen Versus the Ants?

    Oh, ants.

  24. *thinks* .. They don’t have to.. They can reduce almost anything into handy chunks with their jaws if they felt like it…

  25. There is a termite colony in Great Britain larger than Great Britain.
    With thought you might be able to guess their religion

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