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Researcher says farmers should learn to manage methane

A researcher says livestock farmers should change the way they think about methane. 

Dr. Frank Mitloehner from the University of California-Davis says methane escaping from cattle is energy that is escaping the farm. “It costs you money to lose energy, right? Nobody in their right mind would leave the door open or a window open in the winter in Madison, Wisconsin. Guess what? We’re doing the same thing with our cows by allowing them to blow 10% of the energy we feed to those animals out as methane. It’s called enteric methane.”

And, Mitloehner says farms are allowing much more methane energy to escape from manure lagoons. 

Mitloehner says methane is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide but doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere. “A process called hydroxyl oxidation is very important because the same amount, roughly the same amount of this gas being produced by various sources is also being destroyed every year.” Which he says makes it possible for livestock farmers and foresters to help reduce the total amount of greenhouse gases and reduce global warming.

Mitloehner participated in a panel discussion for farmers during the Professional Dairy Producers business conference in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

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