Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cap and Trade Comes to Califironia! Cutting edge aren't they?

        !Well, here we go, some interesting first steps by California in measuring the methane produced by cattle.  Production of beef cattle, including maintenance of breeding stock, on a grass and legume diet is becoming more clearly every day the safest approach to seedstock and beef production -- as in safer for your pocket book in the years to come.  Cattle on grain produce more nitrous oxide than cattle on grass, surely this fact will eventually be more important than the EPA and FAO's recommended increase in grain feeding.  Unless you have a vast forest to offset perhaps the dastardly global warming impact of your grain supplemented herd, it's time for increased focus on grass production of seedstock, in a logical world. 
         Superior Feed Efficiency of your seedstock herd is going to be vital to your success at grass-based seedstock as well as beef production.  The photos included here are of my mature herd and were taken a few days ago.  They are content and browsing on old dry grass, but mostly on the young native grasses and clovers that responded well to the sunny winter weather we had in East Texas on the heals of very nice rainfall.
         These girls also have round bales of average quality bahia grass hay, but they've dropped their consumption tremendously over the past few weeks.  They also receive a ration of alfalfa hay three times a week that generally equates to about 20 lbs for each female.  Unless you are individually feeding a cow either supplemental alfalfa or grain, it's always going to be strictly an estimate on per head consumption. 
          Purchasing alfalfa hay by the truckload direct from the farmer is generally the best approach for getting quality hay at a fair price.  As well, the per ton cost of alfalfa hay, delivered, easily competes with the average cost of a basic 20% protein bag of grain cubes, which run about $7/Bag, or $280 per ton in my area.  Even buying the grain in bulk only results in at most a 10% cost reduction for a ton of grain feed.  And most aggravating of all, to my mind, you have to practically live in the feed store picking up food, or build a real swank barn that can hold a lot of grain bags and hope the mice or the weather don't find their way in.  (Pictured above is J.West's Nell Opal 07, a Mazarati daughter, and a heavy bred heifer handling herself quite well with the big girls despite growing both herself and her calf on a zero grain diet.  Notice she has a 'poopy' tail from the watery young grass and clover in her February diet.)

California To Measure Methane To Pinpoint Emissions

02/03/2010 10:13AM  (Please follow the blog title link above for the full text of this AP article.)

California plans to install a network of computerized monitors to measure methane emissions from regions that are home to dairy ranches, farms, landfills and other sources.

It will be the first network of its kind in the United States and will help the state take another step toward reducing emissions of the gases related to global warming.

By May, seven devices about the size of a personal computer will be placed in regions of the state where methane emissions are believed to be the highest. Those include the farm fields of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and landfills in the Los Angeles basin.

"What we'll be able to do is to find the identity, the location and the strength of methane emissions within the state," said Jorn Herner, the scientist managing the program at the California Air Resources Board. "This is new and pioneering work."

The air board spent about $400,000 on the devices and software modeling to analyze the data.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, academic research scientists and other countries have deployed similar monitors in the last two years to track greenhouse gases around the globe.

California's approach, scientists say, is the most extensive effort to gauge local emissions. The information gleaned from the monitoring system is expected to inform state regulators who are charged with implementing the state's landmark global warming law, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed in 2006. . .

. . .California's global warming law, known as AB32, requires the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by about 25 percent over the next 10 years. Methane, which is 21 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, is the most prevalent greenhouse gas behind carbon dioxide.

State regulators currently rely on power plants, oil refineries and others to report their own emissions. That information is used to compile California's greenhouse gas registries and will determine which polluters must buy emission permits under a state cap-and-trade system now being crafted.

Under such a system, companies that cannot cut their emissions because of cost or technical hurdles can buy pollution credits from companies that have achieved cleaner emissions. . . .
. . .Providing a more accurate accounting of emissions should build confidence in carbon-trading markets, said Michael Woelk, Picarro's chief executive.

". . . These devices will tell real time, minute to minute, what your emissions are," Woelk said. "The free market has to know whether this stuff is working in real time, or the credibility is pulled out from under it."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.