Saturday, November 6, 2010

For Sale - An Incredibly Spoiled and Docile British White Bull in Texas

UPDATE March 27, 2012:  Colonel Beau sold last Fall 2011.  If you are looking for British White females, please see the current offering of J.West Cattle Company above.  This offering includes the dam of Colonel Beau, J.West's Maude Rae, who is a very well made female in her prime, and she comes from a very fertile and milky line of British White females and would be an asset to any herd of cattle, and sells with a spring born Target sired bull calf at her side.  Target is a son of El Presidente, brother to Colonel Beau featured here in this blog.

UPDATE August 29, 2011:   This good-looking British White bull is for sale.  Weight is 1920 lbs on a hip height of 53.5 inches, making him a very meaty Frame Score 3.5 bull.  Contact Al or Dalene Ross.
Here is a nice photo of J.West's Colonel Beau up on his feet, rather than languishing at rest under the care of Darlene.  Colonel is clearly a very nice son of El Presidente, as well as reflecting his maternal lineage from granddam CRAE 215G, an excellent older dam who both ultrasounded and linear measured many years ago by Gerald Fry as an excellent female.  Keep your eye out for Spring 2011 calves sired by Colonel, his daughters ought to be outstanding fertile and milky heifers that will be an asset to your British White herd.

Here are a couple of photos sent to me recently by Al and Dalene Ross.  This first photo is their terribly gentle and clearly spoiled British White bull, J.West's Colonel Beau, who must be about 30 months old now.  What a life!  What a gentle bull and a great herdswoman.  Dalene actually brushes Colonel Beau regularly, and he adores the attention!  Certainly choosing a breed of cattle, or even choosing a bull within a breed, should not be based solely on whether they are dog gentle - but if you can get a good-looking bull like Colonel Beau and he is as gentle as the day is long to boot -- then why choose anything else........

J.West's Colonel Beau, Sire: J.West's El Presidente, Dam: J.West's Maude Rae, About 30 Months Old

This next photo is of Melody, a very well made heifer at 7 months old, sired by J.West's Tom Sawyer, and her dam is J.West's Colleen, coming from my original old CRae 215G cow (Colleen's granddam) that birthed so many fine calves.  This picture of Melody leaves me just green with envy, but also with a really good feeling of having placed Colleen and this heifer with Al and Dalene Ross, who do adore their British White cattle, and have made them so much a part of their every day life.  Melody seems very aptly named, she looks to be a very nice melody of conformation and British White classic beauty, and clearly will be a deep-bodied, clean lined cow that most anyone would be proud to have at pasture.

Melody, Sire: J.West's Tom Sawyer, Dam:  J.West's Colleen, 7 Months Old

Also, note the last picture of the week I posted some time ago to your right.  That photo is Colonel Beau as well, fat and happy, easy-going and easy-keeping -- just what you should expect from British White Cattle.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Summer of Army Worms and a Newborn Calf Riding in a Ranger

This summer has been one of lots of ups and downs.  In mid-July our pastures were under attack by huge platoons of Army worms.  The grass was pretty and green and tall and just perfect for the coming hot weeks of the heart of summer - and so was a preferred choice for the moth laying critters that leave their Army brats behind. 

We consolidated most of the herd to the very back pastures and hoped the cows would eat faster than the Army worms back there.  Up top, Mike and Mr. Brown, my neighbor, sprayed all the pastures with a watered down Sevin Dust.  We tried to keep the potency less than recommended, and it worked, those northward trooping worms gasped their last breath with their mouths full of my pretty grass - and no I didn't feel the least bit sorry for them.  I highly doubt even the greenest tree hugger would say the Army worm is a 'sentient' creature. 

Then in a matter of weeks all that grass we worked to save was drying out and flopping over from lack of rain.  So, after two weeks of quarantine in the back pastures, the cows came back to drying grass to munch on.  But eventually we did get more rain, about when I started to wonder if I'd have to begin haying the whole of the herd.  The grass came back pretty and thick and it looked like I'd have plenty until the fall, even enough to stock pile standing grass through to maybe December.  But!  The Army worms thought it looked pretty darn good as well.

So they came back!  About the 20th of September, they hit the thickest lushest grass first and headed northward eating everything in their path.  Fortunately, we caught it pretty quick, sprayed again very lightly, and within about two days they quit wiggling and eating my grass.  The poor cows though had to be quarantined for 2 weeks yet again in the back pastures -- and they were none too happy about that!

We finally had to start feeding them hay along about the second week, as you couldn't walk in the pastures, much less drive, without the cows running along with you and begging to be let out.  We fed some left over last years hay that was in amazingly good shape, so it is always good to have some hay left over for just such an emergency.  We fed the hay in the next pasture over, we call it the Sawmill pasture, as once long ago a local sawmill operated on that land.

As luck would have it, a first calf heifer decided to head back to the very pastures where they'd all begged to leave from (there was still grass, they were just tired of being back there, they are peculiar that way); anyway, Opaltine, an overmarked heifer out of Black Sapphire and Elvis, headed back to those pastures.  For hours that evening we searched for her with zero luck.  I was comforted by knowing that no buzzards were circling atop the thicket of woods that run through and around these pastures, hoping that meant she was fine wherever she was.

The next morning I called all the cows back to the Sawmill pasture (they'd eaten within two days all of 3 very big bales of hay) for freshly replenished hay, and I think Opaltine must have heard my shrill "Hey Girls" calling.  Once the rest of the herd was back on their new hay, I went again in search of Opaltine, and there she was coming out of the woods with her little healthy bull calf trotting along beside her.  I was so relieved.

I followed along behind them until Opaltine hit the woods for a shortcut to the next pasture, she was clearly heading for the Sawmill and the hay.  Decided all was well, and came on back to the house.  I checked back a couple of times for the new calf, but he wasn't around, but Opaltine was, eating like the Elvis daughter she is, non-stop.  The last time I checked she was lying down fat as a tick and content, but still without her calf.

So it was off to the woods to track her path and find her calf, as it was now just over 4 hours since I'd watched them trot off into the woods.  I finally found him when he stood up and stretched and started checking out just where in the heck he was and wondering no doubt about where his Mom was.  I scooted him along, picked him up some, scooted him along some more, until we made it out of the woods to the clearing in the video below.

I had my flip video with me, so thought I'd try to film my handling of him, knowing I'd have to drive him out of there to the next pasture.  As a really good example of the gentleness of this breed, you'll see that I pick him up and put him in my lap and drive him on to his dam, while he sits calmly all the while.  This particular bull calf, while he doesn't look like he's full of great promise, is still a good example of the low birth weights of my Carter bull, as well as the good markings he can throw.  This calf is the son of an overmarked female, out of another overmarked female.  He measured 24.5, which is about 50 lbs, and having handled him so much, I'd say no more than 50 lbs for sure.

This was actually the second time I'd tried carrying a calf out of the back in my lap while driving my Ranger.  It was after the first round of Army worm quarantine, and another calf had been born a few days before it was time to move them back up.  In desperation, and pretty much holding my breath with hope, I'd picked that calf up, and it was a good three days old then, and perched her in my lap and we drove across two pastures, her staying quite calm all the while -- and miracle of miracles, she didn't even poop on me!

While you might think that perhaps Opaltine is not a good mother, keep in mind she was a first calf heifer, and apparently a hungry one, and no doubt she'd have gone back to where she felt she had snugly and safely left her calf.  But, coyotes are so bad here now, and these calves so docile, that it is simply not safe to let them stay in the snug spots their Mom's think they've left them in.  As of this past week, I've lost at least 6 grown cats, beautiful calicoes, and one awesome yellow tom - to coyotes.  Buzzards have multiplied as well, and I lost one calf this summer the morning it was born by swift attack by buzzards, so we keep a close eye on the newborns. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

British White Cattle and Grass Fed Beef in Carmine, Texas

UPDATE 5/5/11:  Doughboy is now offered for sale due to unforeseen circumstances, please visit the bull sale page for current information on Doughboy.  He is a fine herd bull looking for new pastures.

It has been much too long since I've written a blog, and have decided to get back in the swing of things with the following photos sent to me from Patrick and Valerie Dietz-Klein, British White breeders in Carmine, Texas.  Just over a year ago, in September of 2009, they purchased J.West's Doughboy, an El Presidente son like none other, born April 2007.  The Dietz-Klein's are pursuing a grass fed cattle operation with the goal of direct selling grass feed beef.  Doughboy seems a very nice fit for accomplishing that goal, packing a lot of meat on a very feed efficient frame as well as genetics. 

He is pictured here at pasture, and I was truly amazed to see the incredible growth of Doughboy.  This photo is from July 2010, so he is just over 3 years old and is now about completed his frame growth, though I expect over the next two years they will see him get even thicker and more muscular.  He has very good length of body and you can see the musculature of his sire very evident.
J.West's Doughboy, Pictured as a Yearling

From the moment he was born and throughout his growing months, he stayed fat and rounded and muscular, hence his naming of Doughboy.  Doughboy's dam is J.West's Elsie Edna, a Huck Finn daughter, and one of the two best Huck Finn daughters I've ever raised.  This photo is of Doughboy in May 2008 at 12 months old, looking very well and definitely showing his potential for a herd sire that will pack lots of easy-keeping muscle - but clearly on a quite moderate frame.

J.West's Adrianna with Doughboy sired Calf

Main-Anjou Cow with Doughboy sired British White Calf
 The Dietz-Klein's had their first calf born this past July, it seems Doughboy went right to work on his new job as herd sire, and clearly had no difficulty breeding cows a couple frame scores taller than himself.  The young calf pictured here at left above is presented with great British White color on his black Maine Anjou/Angus cross dam, so kudos to Doughboy for throwing good color.  And the next photo is a one day old Doughboy calf from J.West's Adrianna (a daughter of King Cole), and what a pretty picture that is.  So far it looks like Doughboy is going to throw nice color and very moderate birthweights.

J.West's Bountiful 04 and  Doughboy Sired Bull Calf

It is now October, and Doughboy has put ten calves on the ground, including their first "grandbaby", so check for more photos and additional information on these new additions to the Dietz-Klein herd of British White cattle. 

Update:  This last photo is J.West's Bountiful 04, an overmarked American Fullblood British White cow, sired by DFTX 'Doc' Watson, and whose dam, HRH Bountiful, is still a working cow in my herd.  Here she has a brand new Doughboy sired bull calf at foot, and clearly Doughboy is throwing very nice standard color on both commercial black females and overmarked British White females, such as Bountiful.
See updated photos of this calf in my March 3, 2011 blog post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Wild White Cattle of Cadzow and Chartley - A 1903 New Zealander's Report

What follows is an article from 1903 reporting on the status of  the "wild white cattle" of the United Kingdom.  It should be noted that neither herd,  nor the breed in general, is referred to as being either horned or polled.  It is however well documented that both horned and polled 'wild white cattle' were in these old herds.  In 1918 the Park Cattle Society was formed, and a registry inclusive of both horned and polled Park Cattle was established and maintained until 1946.  And of course the quite 'wild' notion that the wild white cattle were descended from the Urus, a speculative fiction perpetuated by the Chillingham's for hundreds of years, was very much still alive and well -- but clearly found somewhat of an amusing notion.

Wild White Cattle.
Otago Witness , 1903

 "In view of the fact that only a few specimens of the original wild white cattle which at one time roamed the forest solitudes of these countries are now left in the United Kingdom, it is regrettable to learn that the herd of those animal's which has been in existence for many years past at Chartley is threatened, with extinction. Some years ago, owing to an outbreak of rinderpest, the herd of these wild white cattle kept by the Duke of Hamilton at Cadzow (see 1835 print below) was reduced to less than a dozen, but, thanks to the adoption of special measures to facilitate breeding operations among them, tho stock again multiplied steadily until the herd once, more reached its original dimensions. The rapidity with which the Cadzow herd recovered itself in that crisis is rendered specially interesting at the present juncture because of the corresponding position into which the herd at Chartley Castle has fallen.

Some time ago a number of the animals in this herd were found suffering from a destructive disease, and before the progress of the malady could be arrested a good many fatal cases had occurred. According to the latest reports the total number of wild cattle at Chartley at the present time falls short of a dozen; it is therefore to be hoped that, as in the case of the Cadzow Park cattle, such steps will be taken as will prevent the extinction of the herd, and the consequent disappearance of one of the most interesting links between the present and the past of stock-breeding in these countries.

The origin of these and the other wild cattle left in England and Scotland has been much speculated upon, but no very definite conclusion has ever been reached.  They are small in size, and there is little to encourage the belief that they are the descendants of the great Urus that was once plentiful enough in this part of the world. But, whatever their lineage, it would be unfortunate if they were allowed to die out, and with them so many interesting associations.

Apropos of these wild white cattle, it is interesting to learn that in browsing on what may be described as their native wilds, they always keep close together, never scattering or straggling, a peculiarity which does not belong to any domesticated cattle. The wild cows are also remarkable for their systematic manner of feeding. At different periods of the year their tactics are different, but by those acquainted with their habits they are always found about the same part of the forest at the same hour of the day. In the height of summer they always bivouac for the night towards the northern extremity of their confines; from this point they start in the morning and browse to tho southern extremity, and return at sunset to their old rendezvous, always feeding close together."

1835 Elegant engraved image titled, "The White Uru or Hamilton (Cadzow) Breed of Wild Cattle."
NOTE: In this 1835 image you see both a horned example of the Park cattle breed, along with a Polled example of the breed; as well, the young calf is what we consider to be under-marked today.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Growth Pattern of Bulls - When are they 'Fully Matured'? At what age do they express their muscling potential?

          I always enjoy calls that come from folks interested in learning more about the British White breed.  Oftentimes, the questions asked of me leave me pondering the question to myself of how I can better answer those questions next time around.  Recently, the question/observation was posed that full muscle expression in bulls wouldn't generally show itself until they were further on the road to maturity.  I was hesitant in that regard, as my first thought was that by yearling age the muscling attributes of a bull should be well visible.  I found myself looking back through photos of various bulls, particularly the ones that I've seen grow to maturity myself or via photographs, which really amounts to just a handful of bulls.

After looking through those photos, I came to the conclusion that the muscling potential really ought to be clear by yearling age under optimal nutrition for the frame score of the animal in question.  And even during the bull's months as a calf at his dam's side, the muscling potential is apparent.  Most often, if the animal is expressing more muscle definition than its peers, it's noticeable; if much less definition than the others, that's fairly noticeable as well.  Pictured to the left is an Elvis sired bull calf that did receive his sires muscling in the rump; he grew up to be J.West's Big Mac, and was the most like his sire, Elvis, of any of Elvis' sons to date, including his good-natured disposition.
That said, without a doubt as the bull matures that muscle expressed in youth continues to increase tremendously as the years pass -- but the basic structure, the basic muscle expression remains the same.  What follows are some photos of my senior herd bull, J.West's Elvis.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate calf photos of him, I didn't take as many pictures back then and didn't have the benefit of a digital camera.  Nonetheless, from the time he was born, he was quite a distinctively made and handsome youngster; thus the name Elvis that was given him. 

I've also included the different weights taken on Elvis over the years, which illustrate quite well for me the transformation of my good-natured, short and chunky, handsome bull calf  into the mature and hefty Frame Score 2/3 herd bull he is today.  Elvis' hip height measure was taken by Gerald Fry when Elvis was just over 48 months of age and he stood 51" over his hook bones.  This puts Elvis at somewhere between a Frame Score 2 and Frame Score 3, depending on charting sources. 

J.West's Elvis was born March 10, 2003, with a recorded birth weight of 76 lbs. using a taped chest measure.  It's possible it was lower, as I didn't hold the tape snugly back then as is recommended for the best weight estimate.  Elvis was weaned in fall of 2003 with an actual wean weight of 438 lbs on the 28th of November.  His dam, Halliburton Adios, a Popeye daughter, weighed 846 lbs on that same day and she was almost exactly 3 years old.   Elvis was her second calf. 

The next weight I can locate on Elvis is from November 12, 2004, and this photo of Elvis' Rump is from November of 2004 -- at 20 months of age.  His weight was 856 lbs., practically a doubling in size over the prior 12 months.  Unfortunately, I can't locate any other photos of him from this group, it predates my switch to a digital camera.  Hopefully, I'll locate the Kodak disc one of these days that the photo came from.

My next actual weight on Elvis was Feb. 16, 2005, at 23 months old, and he had reached 980 lbs., a gain of about 40 lbs. a month, and not bad with  zero grain concentrates that winter.  The photos below were taken in May of 2005 when Elvis was about 26 months old.  He was fully expressing his  muscling - but still had much, much growing ahead of him.

Unfortunately, I don't have another recorded weight on Elvis until May 15, 2008.  At 5 years of age he had reached a weight of 1715 lbs.  The next weight recorded was on December 18, 2009, at what I'm sure is his peak mature weight of  1785 lbs.  He is pictured below at about this same time.  And if you compare the photo below and the one above, the muscle expression is very much the same, just extraordinarily increased.

The growth of Elvis from a 2 year old to his 6th year can  better seen in this March 2009 video of Elvis below.  He does seem to have expressed more muscling with age, he is almost twice as heavy, but he has also laid on a lot of fat at this stage, which can add to perceived muscling in most mature bulls.  In Elvis's case, there is definitely muscle defining him in every way, with the fat cover adding to his natural gifts, although he has lost that bloom of youth and the sharpness of his muscling - I think he perhaps should have to work a bit harder!  Elvis is a 100% grassfed bull, he has high genetic Feed Efficiency, and there's never been a day when he was not well fit.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A British White Breeder in Texas Breaking New Ground in Grassfed Beef

     The Gold Standard in grass fed beef these days is acquiring certification from both the American Grassfed Association and Animal Welfare Approved.  Here in Texas we have a British White breeder who has achieved both certifications -- the Lazy A Ranch in Bellville, Texas, owned and operated by Margot and Bill Heard.  The Lazy A Ranch was established by the Allen (Buddy) and Ethel Carruth family, and was almost 1000 acres at one time. A herd of Santa Gertrudis cows remains with the original brand.

     Margot Heard has a vision, and she has the steadfastness to work toward that vision of providing excellence in healthy grassfed beef for the Houston market.  The Lazy A Ranch  in Bellville has had Santa Gertrudis cattle running on its grasslands for many years, Buddy Carruth began showing Santa Gertrudis cattle in 1953 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  The descendants of Buddy Carruth's fine cattle still graze the pastures of the Lazy A in Bellville.  But along with this King Ranch developed breed, Santa Gertrudis, that have a healthy dose of old Shorthorn genetics running through their veins -- the Lazy A is now home to a growing herd of British White cattle.

     Margot has her first crop of Santa Gertrudis/British White cross calves on the ground this spring, and a growthier, healthier bunch of calves you can hardly find for many long Texas miles distant.  The Heard's chose to use British White bulls on the Santa Gertrudis herd that they obligingly purchased along with the ranch that the cows have for many generations called home.  Their breed of choice for the long term is British White, the ancient polled Park Cattle of the British Isles; but in the meantime, they are working with their Santa Gertrudis females within the BWCAA breed-up program, along with running a good sized starter herd of British White cows.

     The photos you see here are from a visit to the Lazy A this past May.  Were it not for my elderly dog having a really bad day, I would have much more and no doubt better shots of Margot's spring calves!  But Fred was a real needy old guy that afternoon, and it is quite a trick to take video, much less still shots, clutching a shrillingly whiny old fart like my Fred can be.  But I digress!  It was a beautiful herd of healthy and fit cattle with many cross bred calves at foot, and the photos here were pulled as stills from my flip video camera.

     What has intrigued Margot, and most certainly myself as well, is the very large percentage of British White cross calves that bear quite classic British White markings.  Having crossed with black Angus many years ago, I'd say that about 60% of all my cross bred calves were typical milk white with black point calves, and the remainder were line-backed.

    In Margot's herd, there is a predominance, approaching likely 90%, that are classic British White marked calves, as well as some with red points, despite using British White bulls with black points.  Margot is interested in exploring the genetic relationship of her Gert/BW cross calves via their Shorthorn history, given the large numbers of cross-bred calves exhibiting British White color and markings.  It is a clearly accepted fact in historical documents that the Shorthorn was developed long ago from the polled Park Cattle of the time, or what is known today as British White.

     Margot was running a young British White bull, Aries (pictured left), with the Gerts for several weeks, not really anticipating that he was in any way big enough to really take care of the job, and anxiously looking about for a respectable British White bull of maturity.  Well, she was instead surprised to find this Spring that her young, and even today quite moderately short of frame, Aries, had done his darnedest, and his darnedest was pretty good. (See photo above right for an Aries sired calf.) She has several calves sired by Aries, and they are very thick growthy calves that catch one's eye.  If I weren't juggling too many herd bulls right now, I'd have packed Aries home with me in the blink of time it takes for a determined bull to lay down a fence and proceed!  Aries is now offered for sale by the Lazy A, so give Margot a call for more details on this quite fine young bull.

     The next set of calves Margot had this spring were sired by Tyson, pictured left, a British White bull with excellence in Tenderness genes quite hard to find, having 5 of the 6 known genetic markers for Tenderness.  Tyson is about a Frame Score 5 British White bull, and that's just a guess, not having actually measured him in a while, and he of course settled the remainder of the Gerts in short order.  The calves from Tyson were younger than Aries, but certainly exhibited very good confirmation and color, and they are all the napping younger ones in the photos included here.  I'll look forward to hearing from Margot how all the calves grow off between now and weaning time in the fall.  The photo below is one of the very few Tyson sired bull calves that have been born.  This bull, Tag #40, is out of a Popeye daughter, and has shown outstanding growth this spring.  Tyson, like his sire, J.West's King Cole, has a tendency to throw mostly heifers.

     Tyson is a maternal half brother to my original herd bull, DFTX Watson, always fondly called just 'Doc' by myself and his original owner, Bob Stanley, a very fine and honest man who passed away a few years back.  Tyson has much of Doc's incredibly gentle nature, but at the same time he has more stature than Doc, coming from his paternal grandsire Halliburton Colonel and paternal granddam HRH Arlene. Three of  Arlene's daughters are foundation females in my herd today.  Look for Margot to have some very nice British White females sired by Tyson and perpetuating his clean confirmation and Tenderness genes.

     The Lazy A Ranch in Bellville has laid the ground work for producing and marketing grass fed beef.  As a fellow British White breeder, I am gladdened by her efforts and hopeful for the future of our very gentle, beautiful, and immortalized breed.  The carcass qualities of the British White breed have been enjoyed by the select few for many centuries, being for long periods of history the purview only of wealthy landed gentry in the United Kingdom.  As well, old legend has it that the coining of the word sirloin resulted from King Henry enjoying the loin (or surlonge, the French word meaning 'over the loin') of the ancient Park Cattle of the British Isles -- and dubbing it Sir Loin.

     The Lazy A Ranch is now working in Texas to see the sirloin and more of the British White breed on the dinner tables of many who choose to serve their families a healthy, safe, and environmentally friendly beef product.  Visit the Lazy A Ranch web site for contact information and availability of authentic grass fed beef.

    As well, the Lazy A Ranch has British White bulls and females periodically available for purchase.  You can be sure that the British White cattle available from the Lazy A are in excellent health and are from the best British White genetics available.  To see the cattle available from the Lazy A, visit this link, or visit the web site of the Lazy A Ranch for contact information.  Pictured below is a very fine Santa Gertrudis mama cow peering under the Huisache tree, and it is her young red-eared heifer calf pictured above that she is sternly protecting.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Role did the U.S. Government Play in the Financial Crisis of 2008?

There is so much transparency in the air the past several days, I do believe the American people have just choked on it -- our minds are surely clogged up with the transparent sophistry of politics, both red and blue; and we are fast becoming color blind and would rather walk around in barefoot bliss rather than bother to figure out what socks match.

Those fortunate enough to breath in transparent methane from a herd of contented cows in their own pasture; those fortunate enough to feel the pleasure of going for a weekend drive with the window down along winding country roads, breathing deeply of the transparent methane of grazing cows in scattered pastures, breathing deeply of the transparent and lovely scent of sweet clover mixed with cow manure........ would much rather be in a perpetual state of barefoot bliss, sockless until the end of time.

Unfortunately, in time the squish of fresh manure between your barefoot toes becomes tiresome, the continued slap of stinging weed day after day barely fades before your ankles are slapped again, and eventually one's attention turns back to just what color socks it might be time to wear -- perhaps a new color entirely. Click the blog title link above for my colorless review of critical factors that led to the Financial Crisis of 2008 that has left so many of us sockless.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grassfed Beef - The Preference of Alexander Hyde in the 19th Century

In regard to Grass, Alexander Hyde tells us, “. . . we do not think it has yet generally attained the relative position and attention it deserves among the products of the earth. It is like the air we breathe, so common and so cheap, that we undervalue it. We avoid treading upon the blades of corn, but walk upon the velvety turf without compunction, but the grass “crushed to the earth” rises again, and is found, like truth, to prevail over all its foes.”

What a beautiful quote from the past, what a reverent feeling it invokes for the vast grasslands of America, and how appalled Mr. Hyde would be at the current direction of the United Nations and our Nation in regard to legislating less grass for a cow’s diet and more grain. Mr. Hyde also tells us:

•“We should be sorry to confine our cattle to dry hay alone for the six long months of our winter, but if we can not have both hay and roots, we speak for the hay. It is for the animal what bread is for man, the staff of his life.”
•“Let the cattle graze in pastures luxuriant with white clover, redtop, June and orchard grass, and the beef will be fit to set before an English king or a New York alderman.”
•“We have seen cattle luxuriating in rich pastures, whose flanks and sirloins fairly rolled with fat; and we have no doubt that beef thus made is more healthy than where the animal is confined in a dark stall, condemned to breathe impure air, fed with oil cake, and deprived of all exercise.”
•“It is not because we like corn and roots less that we thus speak, but because we like hay more. . . As there can be no question but that we can raise a hundred pounds of hay at less expense than a bushel of corn or five bushels of carrots, it follows that hay should be the leading crop where crops are raised to be fed out to stock.”
Mr. Hyde sounds like a modern day breeder of grass-fed beef cattle! The term ‘grass-fed’ in regard to beef seems to most a modern term, a new term applied to an old and natural approach to raising cattle. However, Mr. Hyde uses the term himself in the following:

“The quality of the manure depends much on the quality of the food the animal consumes. Grain-fed animals give a much richer manure than grass-fed, and those that ruminate digest their food more thoroughly and extract more nourishment from it than those furnished with only one stomach. A pig may live on the excrement of a horse, but would starve on the excrement of a cow.”

Source:  Agriculture: Twelve Lectures on Agricultural Topics: delivered before the Lowell Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, 1871, Alexander Hyde

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two Black, or Mostly Black, Calves born to Chartley and Vaynol horned white Park Cattle at the London Zoo

The fine specimens of ancient horned white Park Cattle gifted to the London Zoo had at least two calves born that were 'abnormally colored' or mostly black.  Imagine that...........

The Park cattle at the London Zoo were considered to be "pure wild cattle" and they all sprang from a "Chartley bull and a Vaynol Park cow". (Farm Livestock of Great Britain; 1907; Loudon, Wallace, et al)

We know from the accounts of many dispassionate observers of the 19th century that it was not at all uncommon for non-standard calves to be born to 'wild white cattle' herds and swiftly destroyed.   Storer's 1887 work, "The Wild White Cattle of Great Britain", provides one source -- ". . . and in some (herds) black or black and white calves now and then appeared, but these  were always destroyed when young in order to preserve the original characteristics of the herd." 

I wonder if those two black calves born at the London Zoo (see article below) were destroyed as well. And one thing that always nags at me, is just how did they get those unwanted linebacked or black babies swiftly out of the pasture?  After all, they were supposed to be wild and mean cows, so it would surely have been risky human business.  Ah, they probably picked them off with a rifle shot, now that's the logical human way.

Pictured to the left are Chartley Park Cattle in 1898, with the following caption:

Description: White Park cattle are one of the oldest breeds of British cattle.
In the thirteenth century several herds were enclosed in parks. Today four of these herds remain - Chartley, Chillingham, Dynevor and Cadzow.Chartley cattle remained in Chartley Park until 1904, when only 8 or 9 remained. The herd was sold to the Duke of Bedford at Woburn and crossed with Longhorns to enable the herd's survival.

"A NOTE in the London Times says that the fine herd of Indian cattle presented to the London Zoological Society by the president, the Duke of Bedford, has been a considerable attraction, and now that two of the cows -- of the Mysore and Hussar breeds -- have produced calves, the interest of visitors in these animals has increased.  In the same house is a black calf of the Chartley X Vaynol blood, two abnormally colored calves having been thrown in succession by the same cow."

Source: Science, Volume 28, October 16, 1908; By American Association for the Advancement of Science

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finally, the UN admits the Hoax of their Indictment of the Livestock Industry as the Greatest Contributor to Climate Change

Just when you think the scientific community is deaf, dumb, and blind to the fallacy of the UN's 2006 report, Livestock's Long Shadow, a voice makes its way through the liberal media and exposes the UN's unconscionable and deliberate attempt to indict the production of livestock the world over. 

Dr Frank Mitloehner, from the University of California at Davis (UCD), said meat and milk production generates less greenhouse gas than most environmentalists claim and that the emissions figures were calculated differently to the transport figures, resulting in an “apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue”. (UK Telegraph, 3/24/10)
On the surface, this appears to be new news -- but it is not.  Dr. Mitloehner stated his views on cows and climate change and the UN's flawed approach to livestock in a December 2009 UC Davis press release.
"UC Davis Associate Professor and Air Quality Specialist Frank Mitloehner says that McCartney and the chair of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ignored science last week when they launched a European campaign called "Less Meat = Less Heat." The launch came on the eve of a major international climate summit, which runs today through Dec. 18 in Copenhagen." (UC Davis, 12/7/09)
The newsy part of this UK Telegraph story is that one of the UN scientists finally admitted that their approach to slamming the production of livestock with every conceivable basket of greenhouse gas emissions might not have been exactly good science.

 ". . .one of the authors (of the FAO's Livestock's Long Shadow) of the report has admitted an American scientist has identified a flaw in its comparison with the impact of transport emissions."  And we are further told,  "Pierre Gerber, a policy officer with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, told the BBC he accepted Dr Mitloehner's criticism.  "I must say honestly that he has a point – we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn't do the same thing with transport," he said."But on the rest of the report, I don't think it was really challenged." (UK Telegrah, 2010)

Mr. Gerber does not think the "rest of the report was really challenged"?  Odd.  What Dr. Mitloehner has done is question the veracity of the entire report, and if Mr. Gerber concedes Mitloehner "has a point", then the entire premise and intended result of the report is called in to question -- it is challenged.

The United Nations' clear pro-vegetarian attitude has materially influenced their approach and their conclusions, as well as their own biased press releases, in regard to assessing and then slandering livestock production's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mitloehner seems to be of the opinion that a more intensive style of livestock production as recommended by the United Nations, is the best route for guiding developing countries toward more efficient and less damaging production of livestock.

"In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices, to make more food with less greenhouse gas production," Mitloehner continued. In this he agrees with the conclusion of "Livestock’s Long Shadow," which calls for “replacing current suboptimal production with advanced production methods — at every step from feed production, through livestock production and processing, to distribution and marketing.” (UC Davis, 2009)

However, it is not clear from Dr. Mitloehner's quoted statements above that he is actually in favor of modifying the diet of livestock with primarily added grain.  Certainly improving grazing lands and building fences and rotating pastures as we do here in the USA would be a vast improvement of the "current suboptimal production" of livestock in developing countries.  And in terms of climate change, improving grasslands through animal rotation would result in greater carbon sequestration by those pastures.

Of course, the United Nations knows that -- they just don't wish to recommend this as a recommended mitigating policy as it does not fit with their long term goals of controlling the great land mass devoted to livestock the world over.  The UN wants the belching cow off that land.

UN admits flaw in report on meat and climate change

The UN has admitted a report linking livestock to global warming exaggerated the impact of eating meat on climate change.   By Alastair Jamieson  - UK Telegraph
Published: 7:16AM GMT 24 Mar 2010

A 2006 study, Livestock’s Long Shadow, claimed meat production was responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than transport.  Its conclusions were heralded by campaigners urging consumers to eat less meat to save the planet.

However, one of the authors of the report has admitted an American scientist has identified a flaw in its comparison with the impact of transport emissions. Dr Frank Mitloehner, from the University of California at Davis (UCD), said meat and milk production generates less greenhouse gas than most environmentalists claim and that the emissions figures were calculated differently to the transport figures, resulting in an “apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue”. 
          . . . . more

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Cow-Calf Farmer -- Don't Let the FAO and the EPA Put the Cow in A Feedlot or a Zoo for your Grandchildren to Visit

UPDATE 4/26/10:  Video of Arlene and Elvis' young bull calf at a few weeks old...

Global Warming and Cows -- this has become the focus of so much of my time and energy for several weeks now.  Today, my time was more occupied with my actual real cows, one cow in particular.  She's a cow I nicknamed Donna long ago, in honor of an elementary school classmate who was quite the dominating child -- enough so that I actually remember her taking charge of the classroom when I was in the 3rd grade.  She might have been full of honey do this and that in the first and second grade as well, but I was quite occupied in those years with standing in corners and defending my right to 'talk too much', which my teachers heartily disagreed with. Did you ever have to stand in a corner and keep your nose precisely within a small circle? 

That's pretty much what the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations would have the Cow-Calf farmer in the United States, Canada, Sub-Saharan Africa, China, India, and certainly Central and South America -- that is precisely what the FAO would have us all do -- stand in a corner with our nose in a circle and try not to move, try not to squirm, because to do so might bring down the wrath of our individual governmental authorities directly on us.

It has been interesting to note that when I first began blogging and writing hubpage articles regarding the bogus indictment of livestock in the big Global Warming picture -- that a new visitor to my blog and to my hubs is none other than..........the FAO. What should I think about that? What should YOU think about that? Let your Congressman and Senators know that you heartily OBJECT to the Cap and Trade legislation waiting to come back to the forefront of American legislators and the American media.

If you would like to know just what happened with my day in the life of cow-calf farming, and really my day in the life of Donna, my British White cow, then visit my hub about Donna, it was a very good day in my life as a cow-calf herdswoman.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Socialism - It will Trickle into our Lives - and the Obama Administration's EPA is Helping it Along

The Obama Administration is already gearing up for the next critical component of Barrack's grand plan to redistribute the wealth of America - and that wealth includes the very ground itself upon which crops and cattle are raised.

The health care bill, the so-called stimulus bill, and all the fat salaries of this bloated administration have to be paid for. How? Clearly taxes will be raised, that was surely a given. But, the backdoor attack on the wealth of America is being accomplished through the EPA.

The President is already making moves to legitimize the EPA's regulatory control of greenhouse gases. The EPA's "Endangerment Finding" on GHG emissions opens the door to a vast revenue stream for the use of liberal Democratic salaries and social programs, and will effectively set the stage for the redistribution of American farm lands.

Recognition, or legitimization, of Greenhouse Gases as hazardous to human health is just the first step.  Many, many more recommended "mitigating policies" of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will follow.  The end result will be the transfer of pasture and farm land in to the hands of the federal government, friendly large industrial players, or into the hands of some individual who qualifies for a loan under some federal "redistribution" program -- that you can't touch.  How?  Through the burden of new taxation that forces the small holder out the door and his children and grandchildren into "alternative livelihoods" and leaves them forever distanced from the roots of the rural lifestyle of their ancestors.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Will Brazilian and Australian Cattlemen Actually 'Believe' BioDiesel By-Products will Improve the Nutritional Quality of their Beef?

Here we go again, another 'authority' claims that methane emissions by grazing animals makes up one-third of this planet's greenhouse gas emissions.  Our own EPA provides us a handy chart that makes the respected Dr. Alex Chaves of the University of Sidney look like a student rather than a member of the faculty.  Per the EPA, CH4, or methane, accounts for 14.3% of Global GHG emissions, and that includes other sources beyond cattle, like Coal production.

Dr. Chaves' answer to solving this exaggerated statement in regard to beef cattle methane emissions is.....drum roll please....feeding Australia and Brazil's livestock more by-products to make their belches and their dung more environmentally friendly.  He really caught me off-guard on that position, really, I would have never thought either Australia or Brazil would buy in to this FAO generated bunk of modifying the grass diet of grazing cattle...  and Dr. Chaves actually has the temerity to claim his bio-diesel byproducts will improve the grazing cows nutrition and the quality of beef and milk?

Figure 1: Global Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2004
Figure 1: Global greenhouse gas emissions, 2000. This pie chart shows the breakdown of global greenhouse gas emissions by gas. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement manufacturing account for 55 percent of the total. CO2 emissions from land use change and forestry account for another 19 percent. Methane emissions account for 16 percent of the total, nitrous oxide accounts for 9 percent, and the high-global-warming-potential gases (such as sulfur hexafluoride) account for 1 percent.

Greener grazing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

3 March 2010
Gases such as methane expelled by grazing animals make up roughly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions.Dr Alex Chaves, Senior Lecturer of Animal Nutrition in the Faculty of Veterinary Science, is working on ways to reduce these livestock emissions, which contribute to global warming.
Working in collaboration with the CNPGL-EMBRAPA (Dairy Research Centre) and the Federal University of São João del-Rei in his native Brazil, Dr Chaves plans to supplement ruminant feed in Brazil and Australia with biodiesel by-products, such as press-oil seeds and glycerol.
"Brazil has a massive biodiesel industry," he explains. "By using biodiesel by-products in animal feeding, we can hopefully improve animal nutrition and performance, and reduce methane emissions per unit of production."
While Brazil has the second-largest number of livestock animals in the world (170 million head), the quality of its grasses is lower (tropical grasses, or "C4") than those in temperate areas (temperate grasses, or "C3"). This means its animals develop at a slower pace, and therefore emit more methane over their lifespan.
Essentially, Dr Chaves' project aims to improve the quality of Brazil's grasses from C4 to C3, to improve the performance and sustainability of the agricultural sector.
"The better the nutrition, the better the efficiency," he explains. "And the better the efficiency, the less animals you need to produce to feed human beings. This means lower emissions."
"We are trying to kill two birds with one stone," he continues. "We are trying to reduce methane emissions while simultaneously improving animal performance as well as the nutritional quality of the meat and milk."
If the project is as successful as Dr Chaves anticipates it will be, it will help producers to maximise livestock productivity, improve the income of thousands of farmers in marginal regions including outback Australia and lower greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating anthropogenic climate change.

Contact: Michelle Wood
Phone: 02 9351 3191

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In March 2009, a Bill was Introduced to Prevent the EPA from assessing a "Cow Tax"

The efforts of South Dakota's Thune to protect the farmer from a "cow tax" on methane emissions from the cow's belch has not resulted in actual passage of a bill specific to prohibiting a "cow tax".  However, a prohibition against such a tax is included in a 2010 appropriations bill.  While the "2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from taxing producers for naturally occurring livestock emissions,"  -- the battle is far from over.  

The current cap and trade legislation includes the "dietary modification" policy recommendation of the United Nations, and the EPA continues to maintain numerous web pages devoted to the methane emissions from the cow's belch.   

This anti "Cow Tax" bill, introduced right at a year ago, is sitting in the Committee on Environment and Public Works, per  Voice your support of this bill at  The minority voice of Vegan Meat Haters would appear to be the vast 'majority' of any concerned US citizens who have taken the time to 'click' their opposition to this bill --take the time to voice your support, the risk to the family farm is quite real.

Thune, Schumer Introduce "Cow Tax" Prevention Bill, Puts Nail In Coffin Of Inane Proposal That Could Cost SD Farmers An Estimated $367 Million And Put Family Farms At Risk Of Going Out Of Business

Financial Impact Would Be Devastating To The Thousands Of Family-Owned Farms in South Dakota
"March 5th, 2009 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators John Thune and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) today introduced a bill (S.527) that will once and for all prevent the government from imposing an onerous "cow tax" on farmers across the country. Late last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discussed regulating greenhouse gases in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, which could include requiring farmers to purchase expensive permits. Although the EPA did not propose moving forward with the permits, Thune and Schumer are taking preventive action to protect America's farmers. The "tax" would cost South Dakota farmers an estimated $367 million -- or $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beef cow, and $20 per hog -- fees that could put already struggling family farms on the brink of closure.

In a move to alleviate farmers' fears and ensure that such a proposal is never implemented, Thune and Schumer introduced legislation to prevent the EPA or any other governmental agency from imposing this fee on farmers.

"The Clean Air Act was written to curb pollution from smokestack industries, not to regulate livestock production in South Dakota or elsewhere," said Thune. "Livestock producers do not need another burdensome regulation to worry about, and this legislation would ensure that the `cow tax' never becomes a reality.

"Cattle and dairy production is vital to the economy of South Dakota and to our nation, and in these difficult economic times, it would be disastrous to enact policies that would increase food prices for all Americans. This bipartisan effort reflects our commitment to ensure overbearing proposed rules are never put in place."

"Times are hard for families across New York State, and they are particularly hard for our farmers. The idea of a imposing a cow tax on our farmers and adding one more crushing burden is absurd," Schumer said. "This bill will put an end to this inane `cow tax' once and for all."

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts, et al v EPA that the EPA cannot categorically refuse to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, a law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation's air quality. On July 30, 2008, in response to this, the EPA began to consider the implications of defining greenhouse gases as an air pollutant by issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This is typically a precursor to a proposed rule and the first in several steps in creating a new regulation. As a part of this process, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) responded to the Notice with a comment that defining greenhouse gases as air pollution may require the EPA to issue permits to farmers for their livestock. Currently, permits for other pollutants cost roughly $45 per ton, though that level can change. Title V of the Clean Air Act requires that permits be obtained by most large and small sources of air pollution.

The USDA indicated that if the EPA chose to move forward with regulating farm animals and requiring permits for emitters of methane, farms with more than 25 dairy cows or 50 beef cattle would need to purchase permits for each ton of methane their animals emitted. The American Farm Bureau Federation, assuming a price of approximately $45 per ton, calculated that this would cost $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beef cow, or $20 per hog. This regulation would cost a medium sized dairy farm with 75 to 125 cows between $13,000 and $22,000 a year. It would cost a medium size cattle farm with 200 to 300 cows between $17,000 and $27,000.

If enacted, these permits would be devastating to farmers and could put family farms at risk of going out of business. Beef and dairy products are part of a highly competitive global market, meaning American farmers cannot significantly raise prices when the cost of doing business in the United States rises. If forced to pay a "cow tax" or other additional fees, farmers could face a competitive disadvantage, which could close farms and lead to more imported food products.

Importation of dairy and beef products carries its own set of risks for consumers. Overseas livestock and dairy farms are often not regulated as stringently as U.S. farms, and cases of tainted agricultural and food products making their way into U.S. markets have proliferated in the last year. Most recently, baby formula in China containing dangerous levels of melamine and a salmonella outbreak resulting from contaminated jalape¤os from Mexico have rocked American consumers and put the U.S. imported food safety apparatus to the test.

South Dakota is in the heart of farm and ranch country and is a leading producer of livestock. South Dakota has 15,700 cattle ranches, 660 dairy operations, and 960 hog operations. With this new livestock fee, South Dakota farmers and ranchers would pay approximately $367 million in new fees each year to continue operating at current levels. The livestock sector break down for South Dakota is as follows:
  • There are 3.7 million beef cattle in the state of South Dakota, which would result in $323,750,000 in fees for South Dakota farmers
  • There are 1.42 million hogs in the state of South Dakota, which would result in $28,400,000 in fees for South Dakota hog farmers.
  • There are 85,000 dairy cows in the state of South Dakota, which would result in $14,875,000 in fees for South Dakota dairy farmers.
To ensure the burden of a cow tax is never placed on South Dakota farmers, Thune introduced a bill that will prevent the government from imposing the fee, by ensuring that Title V of the clean air act will not apply to methane emissions from livestock agriculture."

Monday, March 1, 2010

College Students Create Videos to Convey the Importance of Agriculture

Everyone should have a look at these videos on agriculture. The first video was produced by a student at Sam Houston State University, entitled "Agriculture is our Soul", and took second place in a competition ". . . for explaining the importance of agriculture to the general public."   The second video below took first place in this competition, and was produced by a student at the University of Missouri.

This first prize winning video is entitled "Naked and Hungry", don't let the beginning few seconds scare you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interesting Advice from 1808 on the Care of the Cow that Prematurely Calves or Aborts

How to Manage and Care for the Cow that has Prematurely Calved (or slipped) their Calf - from The Complete Grazier, 1808, by Thomas Hartwell Horne

". . . But where a cow slips, or casts her calf prematurely, she must be tended with great care; and ,whatever may be the cause, whether abusive treatment, violent exercise, bruises or blows, or that unnatural appetite known by the name of longing, every animal that has slipped her calf should be carefully separated from the rest of the herd.  Cleanliness which is an essential requisite in the general management of cattle, ought in this instance to be an object of special attention; and, as cows which are liable to drop their calves usually evince some preparatory symptoms between the cause of the abortion and the actual slipping of the fetus, it will not be altogether useless to bleed them two or three times, as this expedient has sometimes operated as a preventive."

"After, however, the calf is produced, it will be necessary to assist the natural functions of the animal in order to carry off the secandines * provided in the uterus for nourishing the fetus; and which, continuing there in consequence of abortion, would become putrescent, and thus occasion a disagreeable odour that would quickly communicate an infection among other breeding cows."

"For this purpose we would, at all times, recommend the following mixture to be given the cow as soon after calving as possible:  Let about three quarts of water simmer over the fire; and, when warm, strew in as much oatmeal as will be sufficient to make a strong gruel, carefully stirring the whole, till it boils, that no lumps may arise; then add one quart of ale (or two of table beer) and one pound of treacle (molasses), and carefully incorporate the different ingredients by stirring.  This mixture should be given lukewarm: it is peculiarly grateful to cows, which (particularly young ones) will drink it eagerly, after the first hornful, and are thus prevented from taking cold.  And, as it is of importance to regulate the state of the body, this object may be effected by giving a mash of bran wetted with warm water."

"Further, it will be necessary to milk the cows, especially if they be full of flesh and the udder hard, three or four times a day, for two or three days, and the calf should be suffered to suck as frequently, if in the house; or, in the field to run with her and suck at pleasure; care being taken to observe that the mother does not prevent it, for, if the udder or teats be sore, she will naturally be averse to suckling, and danger is incurred of losing both animals: and, in case the kernel of the udder is hard, the hardness may be removed by rubbing it three or four times in the day."

*"Or afterbirth: -- in the North it is termed the cleansing.  This excrement ought to be narrowly watched,  after it is passed, as cows will often eat it with great avidity."

Climate Change in Texas - Our Texas Cows Got the Message . . .

. . . and the East Texas cattle population has formed an alliance to suppress belching and farting in the interests of  protecting the Ozone -- apparently it worked.

The weather in Texas is notorious for being unpredictable within most any season, and in this upper sliver of southeast Texas, tucked right in the northern edge of Tyler County -- this winter has surely been one to remember.  I'd say the cows have done a pretty good job of holding back on those belches, maybe the constant hole digging in the soil by the bulls isn't 'soil degradation', but is actually a repository for herd belches. 

Yesterday evening the snow and sleet started about 5:30 PM, and it was pretty nasty outside.  But within an hour it was just pretty flakes of snow falling. By 11:00 PM the pastures and the treetrops were covered in a white blanket of snow, and the flakes were still thick and softly falling.  This morning the melt had already begun by the time I took a few pictures, but as we will be in the throes of man and cow caused Global Warming within a few short years, decades . . . who knows what the current time line theory is-- I certainly recorded what may be never ever seen again in these Pineywoods.

Last night's snow fall has been our third snow of the winter, and the same can be said for many other parts of Texas as well.  Yet Texas is the cow home of the largest population of cattle in the United States of America, over 13 million head of cattle.  The atmosphere above the blue skies of the State of Texas must be surely choking on methane emissions from the belches of cows and from their manure. 

Is there a Texas sized hole lurking in the ozone above our great State?  I haven't heard about one.  And the air I breathe in my rural part of Texas is clean and fresh.  The same can not be said about the City of Houston.  If there's ever a time when I remember the fast driving fun of my youth, it's when I'm trying to get the heck out of Houston so I can breathe again and leave my constant Houston Headache behind  -- and get back to my rural country air filled with the cow belches just as fast as I can.

We are told that cattle are a greater contributor to Global Warming than the Transportation sector.  A trip to Houston and back to home always shows what a Farce that notion is.  This third snowfall as well shows what a farce that notion is.  Texas farm and ranch land accounts for some 78% of the total land area in the State of Texas, or about 130 Million acres.  Eighty-three percent of that farm and ranch land is in the hands of small land owners having less than 499 acres, and a lot of cows roam that acreage.

Per the Texas Dept. of Agriculture (2007), "Texas is the number one cattle producing state in the country, with an inventory of 13.8 million cattle and calves -- more than twice as many as the next largest producer."  Shouldn't we Texans have hole in the ozone to worry about? Shouldn't we be in a sweat instead of a shiver?  Or have our cows found a way to circumvent the goals of the EPA, the United Nations, and their great and all powerful leader -- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

Visit my HubPage for an in-depth examination of the EPA and FAO efforts to exert governmental control over the cows in your pastures at a level you could never have imagined in a rational world.  (Image below is provided by your EPA to assist you in understanding just how to test the methane of your cows - looks like a bad, very bad joke.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Should we be Worrying about a Carbon Tax Assessment on our Cows?

Raising cattle has lots of costs, both monetary and in terms of your time; but it also has lots of rewards that are perhaps hard to convey to someone who hasn't experienced the sort of peacefulness and rightness that comes from having cattle grazing pastures around your home. 

I have largely tended to scoff and ignore reports that cattle are primary contributors to Global Warming. I felt comfortable with my grassfed approach to raising my entire herd, mama cows and all.  How could that be a bad thing?

Suddenly, there has been a lot of finger pointing at grassfed beef as an even worse culprit to the earth than a stalled and grainfed steer.  So I felt like I could not ignore this, laugh at this, anymore.  I found the FAO's 2006 report that damned my gentle grassfed cows, and I read it with great interest, and I recommend everyone to read this report.

While a grassfed animal does produce more methane via their belching, the grain fed animal produces manure that contains more Nitrous Oxide, almost 300 times, or ~93%, more toxic to the ozone than methane.   Not to mention the Carbon Dioxide emissions that result from the cropping of the feed grains, and the nitrous oxide from the fertilizers used to crop the grain.

The FAO's 2006 report that damned the livestock industry actually provides NO estimation of the net carbon effect of converting to an all grain livestock industry. NONE. And certainly no estimation of the impact on water supplies from cropland fertilizer runoff.

And in regard to grass fed cattle operations, the FAO references the 2002 work of Vaclav Smil who says ". . . Nitrogen loss not being a factor in the production of “totally grass-fed” bovines or bovines raised on “crop and food processing residues that are unpalatable to non-ruminants – such as humans"; and Smil goes on to say that grass fed production of livestock would be environmentally preferable in societies that could manage to implement it.

Apparently the FAO would rather spend their time coming up with some vaccine, or chemical additive for the cow to eat, to reduce their belches.  Follow the blog title link, or click here, for my articles on the findings presented in the FAO report, Livestock's Long Shadow.