Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"the inexorability of excrement"

What a line! the high-falutin' version of "s - - t happens", or perhaps "compost happens".

In the science section of the NY Times there's an article with pictures about manure management at industrial dairies.


The pictures are better than the article (except for the one captioned lactating Holsteins with three critters without a teat in sight), which seems to me curiously unbalanced for a science article.

Of course it is worth celebrating that a dairy uses the manure from its cows on nearby fields to grow the cows' feed, and that water is conserved in the process of waste management and used for irrigation. But there is no mention here of the contribution of cattle waste to greenhouse gas totals - a very significant issue. There also seem to be a whole lot of fossil fuels used in managing the manure.

I wonder, too, why we must have balance in journalism - but apparently not when we right about mega scale agriculture? I'd like to hear about manure management from a small scale sustainable dairy.

Now I'm going to go back and scan the reader comments on this article, and see what others have said.

Well, it seems that many people found this to be, well, a crappy article, leaving many questions unanswered. How can we continue to make dairy food affordable (while eating less of it), and truly sustainable dairy farming profitable?

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