In the knowledge that Europe, Asia and more recently the Americas were teeming with bison/buffalo and other herbivores, it seems fanciful that livestock farming could be responsible for man made climate change. In this post I intend to avoid penetrating the so called science of climate change, which has become a vehicle for supra national control, to concentrate on more justifiable concerns over the human footprint. The rapid undermining of the ecosystem, evidenced by species rarity and losses is being blamed, along with other ‘culprits’, on cattle. To some extent this is justifyable, especially when factory style rearing is supported by the particularly damaging cattle feed industry. Farms adjacent mine resemble the surface of the moon. Every season:- Roundup to kill vegetation, artificial fertiliser, insecticides and a final dose of Roundup to “ripen” the corns leaves a monoculture more like the surface of the moon. Nothing lives but the crop, and there is increasing evidence of the negative effects. Short term advantages in productivity are not doubted, but the decimation of the chain of plant and insect life, and consequent loss and rarity of ‘higher’ species is evident to all of us.
This is where the Traditional Hereford comes to the rescue. Of course they can be factory farmed, but many of us manage very well farming the cattle similarly to the methods in which they were originally selected in the 19th century, our cattle thriving on grass and our own haylage. We don’t need to feed our cattle on corns, in competition with arable products for human consumption. Whereas we want to improve our pasture, this can be done without the annual rape of the environment; the ratcheting up of chemical and food costs.
Government ignorance is rampant. Making policy on the “hoof”, Kwasi Kwarteng the Business Minister has said “We must go vegan to save the planet”. Not at all! To save the planet we need to stop short term dosing and return to a more traditional approach to agriculture. Here is a link to the positive results of experiment comparing modern agricultural method with the traditional, in which it explains that healthy soil itself is the key, locking carbon, a key element of life, into the soil ecology. In this context, we are not rejecting science, but learning from our mistakes.
The age of Chemical Food Production is gone.
Regenerative Organic agriculture is really the future.
An interesting lecture by Dr. William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton University, summarizes his arguments about the myth of carbon pollution. It's that myth that underlies global warming alarmists' key arguments. Also touches on methane emissions from cattle, a subect being used to shut down cattle farming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8iEEO2UIbA
I disagree that the root cause of land degradation is due to chemicals. I believe the root problem was replacing animal power with mechanization. When the animals left so did their manure. Even vegetarian India recognizes the benefits that cattle provide to the long term land health.
I am a big believer in re-integrating cattle into modern cropping systems. When looked at through the lifespan of the rotation, grazing cover crops is more profitable than continuous cropping.
The best way to sequester carbon in the soil is to return to an economic system that allows farmers to be able to see a return owning land for the long term. Unfortunately, outside money has squeezed farmers out land ownership.
Thanks, I must get a copy
George Monbiot's book is getting a lot of attention just now but I really believe that the most important thing we can do is to promote local food. If we haven't learned by now how stupid it is to allow control over our food production to be taken over by large corporations or mad dictators then the human race deserves all it gets..