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Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
bungeejumper
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Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184448

Postby bungeejumper » December 3rd, 2018, 11:07 am

Loved this story about a couple who bought a rural house in an Alpine valley and then complained to the council about the smelly waft of cow poo, and all the cowbells keeping hem awake. What horrid, messy, thoroughly nasty things animals are. Honestly, farming shouldn't be allowed.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-46371208 . The farmer's name is fairly unexpected, but it's the village sign that cracks me up. :lol:

BJ

PinkDalek
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184456

Postby PinkDalek » December 3rd, 2018, 11:38 am

bungeejumper wrote:… The farmer's name is fairly unexpected, but it's the village sign that cracks me up. :lol:


I don't suppose the author of the article is involved in campanology.

bungeejumper
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184478

Postby bungeejumper » December 3rd, 2018, 12:57 pm

PinkDalek wrote:
bungeejumper wrote:… The farmer's name is fairly unexpected, but it's the village sign that cracks me up.


I don't suppose the author of the article is involved in campanology.

Thanks PD, I hadn't noticed that. ;)

We live about 200 yards from an organic dairy farm, and it always amuses us when our city guests wrinkle up their noses at the "raw farmyard sewage" smell of good clean silage. (That's fermented grass, for the avoidance of doubt.) We then have to explain to them that the silage passes through an aperture in the cow that's quite different from the one that the muck comes out of. Pretty often, they ask where it is? :lol:

BJ

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184522

Postby PinkDalek » December 3rd, 2018, 4:28 pm

bungeejumper wrote:We live about 200 yards from an organic dairy farm, and it always amuses us when our city guests wrinkle up their noses at the "raw farmyard sewage" smell of good clean silage. (That's fermented grass, for the avoidance of doubt.) We then have to explain to them that the silage passes through an aperture in the cow that's quite different from the one that the muck comes out of. Pretty often, they ask where it is? :lol:


I doubt you'd ever milk that one.

As one of those oft mocked townies but with some little (< emphasized) knowledge of country folks' activities, when you describe good clean silage as being from fermented grass, for the avoidance of doubt, would I be wrong in thinking silage can contain all manner of crops, such as oats?

scotia
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184526

Postby scotia » December 3rd, 2018, 4:48 pm

In my youth I seem to recollect that treacle was added to the grass in silage. One lad at our school said you could eat the silage - but I never tried.

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184540

Postby ReformedCharacter » December 3rd, 2018, 5:48 pm

scotia wrote:In my youth I seem to recollect that treacle was added to the grass in silage. One lad at our school said you could eat the silage - but I never tried.

Molasses probably, it helps the bacteria ensile the crop.

RC

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184542

Postby ReformedCharacter » December 3rd, 2018, 5:58 pm

PinkDalek wrote:As one of those oft mocked townies but with some little (< emphasized) knowledge of country folks' activities, when you describe good clean silage as being from fermented grass, for the avoidance of doubt, would I be wrong in thinking silage can contain all manner of crops, such as oats?

That's right, maize (or 'corn' as they call it in the US) is now often used due to the high dry matter yield and modern varieties that succeed in the UK climate but oats (oatlage) and other crops can be used too.

RC

bungeejumper
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184572

Postby bungeejumper » December 3rd, 2018, 8:42 pm

PinkDalek wrote:As one of those oft mocked townies but with some little (< emphasized) knowledge of country folks' activities, when you describe good clean silage as being from fermented grass, for the avoidance of doubt, would I be wrong in thinking silage can contain all manner of crops, such as oats?

You are absolutely right, PD, and the point about including molasses is also good. These days I imagine that high-tech farmers slip other fermenting agents into their silage bales before they seal them up for the winter. I didn't mention any of that in my OP, however, because it seemed kind of off the point, and I have a long-established knack of going off on over-lengthy tangents. (Don't I?)

I don't think townies need to beat themselves up too often about not knowing all those country wiles - although I did draw the line at my class of Brummie schoolkids who flatly refused to believe that milk came from cows - it was made in the milk factory, they said. :lol: We snigger when city friends ask us where's the best local takeaway? (Thirty miles away, we tell them.) And their kids whimper about how their mobile phones won't work and none of their friends will ever talk to them again. And they really do hate (and fear) the dead quiet of night, punctuated only by the spooky sound of owls out hunting. Some (from London) have told us that the clatter of bottles being kicked down the road after closing time is really quite comforting compared with total silence that allows no attempts at echo-location.

Still, we long-term bumpkins are really no better. We wouldn't know an oyster card, or how it works. We probably couldn't manage to order a take-away even if we had any understanding of what was written on the menu. (Piri-piri? Hmmm, I think my great uncle died of that in Borneo, 1941?) We talk green, but we drive rotting old Land Rovers that belch filth. (Well, some of us do, anyway.) And some of our views on badger culling are hardly progressive. And townies probably make more use of their bikes than we locals do with all those beautiful open roads at our disposal. Just sayin'. ;)

BJ

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184645

Postby UncleEbenezer » December 4th, 2018, 9:33 am

Hmmm. I seem to recollect something about silage around the BSE scandal: didn't they outlaw formerly-standard practice of mixing in the entrails (brains, etc) of slaughtered animals, among other things one might consider less wholesome than grass?

But surely that was limited, and silage still contains a bunch of other compostables up at which a nose might legitimately be turned?

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184651

Postby ReformedCharacter » December 4th, 2018, 10:30 am

UncleEbenezer wrote:Hmmm. I seem to recollect something about silage around the BSE scandal: didn't they outlaw formerly-standard practice of mixing in the entrails (brains, etc) of slaughtered animals, among other things one might consider less wholesome than grass?

But surely that was limited, and silage still contains a bunch of other compostables up at which a nose might legitimately be turned?

The BSE 'scandal' had nothing to do with silage. It did have something to do with the commercial making of cattle food that contained protein derived from cattle and sheep, ie cows eating parts of dead cows and sheep. IIRC the brain and spine are the body parts that carry the infection and since they have little demand for human consumption end up being 'recycled'.

Silage usually contains only the crop, grass generally, and something to help the lactic acid bacteria grow and acidify the crop (pickling, basically). As mentioned molasses used to be used but these days a mixture of enzymes, sugars and bacteria are used to help the ensiling process. This is a bit like adding a sugar and yeast starter in the process of homebrewing rather than waiting for wild yeasts to ferment the brew.

There's plenty that smells on a farm but I never found silage to be particularly strong or unpleasant. But often where there's silage there's a lot of cowsh!t too. I nearly turned a tractor over on a silage clamp once, not a good thing to do. :cry:

RC

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184783

Postby Nimrod103 » December 4th, 2018, 10:02 pm

ReformedCharacter wrote:The BSE 'scandal' had nothing to do with silage. It did have something to do with the commercial making of cattle food that contained protein derived from cattle and sheep, ie cows eating parts of dead cows and sheep. IIRC the brain and spine are the body parts that carry the infection and since they have little demand for human consumption end up being 'recycled'.


I don't think the BSE epidemic has ever been properly explained, though feeding animal material to young cows was definitely a critical factor in its spread. According to Wikipedia, UK Govt scientists do not believe it came from sheep, where the similar disease called Scrapie has been around for thousands of years without causing a problem for humans. I have heard it suggested that somehow human material came into the bovine diet.

Clitheroekid
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184784

Postby Clitheroekid » December 4th, 2018, 10:15 pm

bungeejumper wrote:Loved this story about a couple who bought a rural house in an Alpine valley and then complained to the council about the smelly waft of cow poo, and all the cowbells keeping hem awake.

Which reminds me of a joke as old - probably older - than the Alps:

Why do Swiss cows wear bells?

Because their horns don't work.

:lol:

didds
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184817

Postby didds » December 5th, 2018, 8:25 am

bungeejumper wrote: And they really do hate (and fear) the dead quiet of night, punctuated only by the spooky sound of owls out hunting.


some while ago now (20 years or so) we lived on a farm. Friends visited us for the weekend, from "town".

The first mornig as we amassed in the kutchen for breakfast I asked my chum Graham if he'd slept OK.

"No" he answered. "I thought it was supposed to be quiet in the countryside. Ive hardly slept a wink. There was some cow mooing all night [its calf had been separated the day before] and when it eventually stopped at about 5 am the bloody tractors started".

:-)

didds

scotia
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184858

Postby scotia » December 5th, 2018, 12:10 pm

I remember one summer's night (around midnight) returning to the car with my son after a late evening's fishing on the upper section of the Clyde. On crossing a field, I was astonished at the volume of noise erupting from (both ends of?) the cows. "That's methane - a major source of global warming" explained my son (a life scientist) - "but if you asked the general public to list the causes of global warming, I'll bet that few would include cows".

swill453
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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184870

Postby swill453 » December 5th, 2018, 1:01 pm

scotia wrote:I remember one summer's night (around midnight) returning to the car with my son after a late evening's fishing on the upper section of the Clyde. On crossing a field, I was astonished at the volume of noise erupting from (both ends of?) the cows. "That's methane - a major source of global warming" explained my son (a life scientist) - "but if you asked the general public to list the causes of global warming, I'll bet that few would include cows".

Under 3%, according to this describing the USA sources in 2016 https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/source ... -emissions

Transportation and electricity production contribute 28% each.

Still, it's a lot of methane. The large majority from the front end of the cow rather than the back end, I believe.

Scott.

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#184880

Postby scotia » December 5th, 2018, 1:59 pm

swill453 wrote:
scotia wrote:I remember one summer's night (around midnight) returning to the car with my son after a late evening's fishing on the upper section of the Clyde. On crossing a field, I was astonished at the volume of noise erupting from (both ends of?) the cows. "That's methane - a major source of global warming" explained my son (a life scientist) - "but if you asked the general public to list the causes of global warming, I'll bet that few would include cows".

Under 3%, according to this describing the USA sources in 2016 https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/source ... -emissions

Transportation and electricity production contribute 28% each.

Still, it's a lot of methane. The large majority from the front end of the cow rather than the back end, I believe.

Scott.

From:- https://animals.howstuffworks.com/mamma ... ne-cow.htm
"Cows contribute 3 percent of Britain's overall greenhouse gas emissions and 25 to 30 percent of its methane. In New Zealand, where cattle and sheep farming are major industries, 34 percent of greenhouse gases come from livestock.
In 2003, the government of New Zealand proposed a flatulence tax, which was not adopted because of public protest."

The mind boggles at the task of a Tax Collector measuring the methane produced by each cow!

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#185054

Postby UncleEbenezer » December 6th, 2018, 11:50 am

scotia wrote:I remember one summer's night (around midnight) returning to the car with my son after a late evening's fishing on the upper section of the Clyde. On crossing a field, I was astonished at the volume of noise erupting from (both ends of?) the cows. "That's methane - a major source of global warming" explained my son (a life scientist) - "but if you asked the general public to list the causes of global warming, I'll bet that few would include cows".

We always ignore the biggest greenhouse gas of all: namely water vapour. You just have to look at the difference between a sunny and a cloudy day to see what effect that has. And it's produced in large volumes alongside CO2 whenever we burn hydrocarbons.

Why do we ignore it? Because it doesn't matter. It has somewhere to go where it is genuinely harmless and where the quantities we produce are ... not quite a drop in, but still insignificant in ... the ocean. Mankind's emissions just join a natural cycle, and have no long-term effect.

The same would be true of other gases if we produced them in no more than natural quantities. There's a natural carbon cycle, where it's extracted from the air by vegetation, and some of it eventually becomes compost, soil, peat, and finally over many millions of years, mineral forms such as the fossil fuels we burn for energy.

It's those many millions of years that are uniquely problematic with CO2. We are producing it much faster than its natural cycle can deal with it, and in doing so we are terraforming Earth to something which isn't going to support the life we know today. And we're deluding ourselves with non-fixes, such as burning wood that emits lots of CO2 (and nastier things) and merely accelerates the cycle compared to waiting for it to become fossil fuel.

Now I haven't seen the science on a methane cycle, but I suspect our effect there is much closer to water vapour than to CO2. That is to say, I suspect the quantities produced by man's activity are not a serious long-term problem, and could (at worst) be fixed over decades like the sulphur that caused acid rain. Though it would still doubtless be a Good Thing if we didn't breed and farm cattle so intensively as to bugger up their digestive systems (and one suspects they'd lead a more comfortable life without the perpetual diarrhoea too).

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#185097

Postby swill453 » December 6th, 2018, 2:01 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:We always ignore the biggest greenhouse gas of all: namely water vapour. You just have to look at the difference between a sunny and a cloudy day to see what effect that has.

You're going to have to explain that one to me. The difference between a sunny and a cloudy day (in summer anyway) is that the cloudy day is cooler. Not exactly the most obvious demonstration of the greenhouse effect or global warming.

Scott.

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#185525

Postby Gengulphus » December 8th, 2018, 8:55 am

swill453 wrote:
UncleEbenezer wrote:We always ignore the biggest greenhouse gas of all: namely water vapour. You just have to look at the difference between a sunny and a cloudy day to see what effect that has.

You're going to have to explain that one to me. ...

And to me! Even the connection between water vapour and clouds isn't direct: if you can see it, it isn't water vapour, and if you can't, it isn't a cloud... Rather, clouds come into existence when the atmosphere is supersaturated with water vapour, which condenses out as droplets (often tiny) of liquid water. And there are lots of interactions between them and temperature: it takes more water vapour to make warmer air supersaturated; water vapour condensing to form liquid water releases heat (and conversely, liquid water evaporating absorbs heat); clouds reflecting a good proportion of the radiation that strikes them (which affects both solar radiation and heat radiated by the ground - the latter being why temperature dip much further at night when there's no cloud cover); the greenhouse effect (which is basically the gas being better at absorbing the heat radiated by low-temperature sources like the ground and ocean than that radiated by high-temperature sources like the Sun); water evaporating more readily when it's warmer, etc, etc, etc.

Most of those effects simply don't apply to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, etc, and so the overall interaction between temperature and water vapour is much more complex. See https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-re ... watervapor for some discussion of them.

Gengulphus

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Re: Farming is sooooooooo beastly.....

#185565

Postby UncleEbenezer » December 8th, 2018, 11:42 am

Gengulphus wrote:Most of those effects simply don't apply to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, etc, and so the overall interaction between temperature and water vapour is much more complex.

Yes indeed, it's a more complex effect, because of the way certain forms of water reflect radiation. And the fact that it changes between states within nature brings about other effects locally as it can regulate temperature in both directions (frost, condensation and sweat would make some more red herrings)! What water vapour has in common with other greenhouse gases is that it retains heat, which would make our emissions a huge greenhouse issue if there wasn't the natural cycle to remove it roughly as fast as we emit it.

So instead of saying a cloudy day - which introduces a red herring - I should perhaps have pointed to the difference between a dry and a humid night. I've never experienced the world's hot deserts myself, but I've read that nights actually get cold in the dry air, as there is no water vapour to retain heat. Whereas August in central Italy - which I experienced for several years - gives you nighttime minima in the mid to high twenties due to high humidity retaining the heat. It's why Romans traditionally get out in August, either into the mountains or south to Sicily, where the fierce heat of day is balanced by cooler nights due to lower humidity.


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