Here in Luzon, our major contribution to global warming is the rotting vegetation in the flooded rice paddies.

Right now, our workers are busy in the fields, flooding and mulching to prepare for planting. It’s an ancient form of organic farming: the water kill the weeds, and you mulch and turn it a couple times, then you plant the seedlings by hand. This enables a larger crop than normal dry farming techniques. But one of the side effects is that methane and other greenhouse gases are produced by the rotting vegetation, especially since we use manure as a fertilizer.

In China, using less flooding and different rice hybrids allows less flooding and therefore less methane emission, but here we still do it the old fashioned way, especially those of us who use organic farming.

Except for some goats or water buffalo, we don’t have a lot of methane emitting animals around here.

But in New Zealand, the major cause of greenhouse emissions is Cow and sheep emissions.  Since New Zealand has signed onto the Kyoto protocol, the government has tried to lower emissions by instituting a tax on the emissions…something resented greatly by the plainspoken farmers, who call it a “F*** tax”.

But it’s not just the emissions of ruminant animals, it is also that they tend to belch methane, and that their manure also is a source of methane.

Enteric fermentation is methane produced as part of the normal digestive process of animals, such as cows and sheep. It is primarily released in the form of burps.

The 45 million sheep and 10 million cattle in New Zealand make for a lot of burped methane—about 90 percent of that country’s methane emissions, according to government figures.

Well, you can always put the manure in a vat and harvest the methane, but what do you do about the gas emissions of Bossie?

One Aussie Scientist suggested that since Kangaroo belching doesn’t produce methane, that one needs to simply substitute Kangaroo bacteria into the rumens of cattle, and voila, methane free belching. Another scientist suggested changing the sheep’s diet instead.

But now the UKTelegraph has a story suggesting a vaccine could stop Bessie and Lambkins from belching and emitting methane:

“Our agricultural research organisation just last week was able to map the genome … that causes methane in ruminant animals and we believe we can vaccinate against” flatulent emissions, Mr Goff (New Zealand’s trade minister) said.

So will vaccinating cattle and sheep stop global warming?

As Drudge would say: “developing….”


Headsup for this article was from the Drudgereport


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 



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