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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:20 AM
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Burp-less sheep to be bred in Australia

66 per cent of livestock emissions are released as methane.

AUSTRALIAN scientists are hoping to breed burp-less sheep in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The agriculture sector is the nation's second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions behind the energy sector, producing about 16 per cent of Australia's total emissions, The Sunday Mail reports.

Two-thirds of that figure is produced by livestock, and 66 per cent of those emissions are released as methane from the guts of grazing livestock such as sheep and cattle.

Australias Sheep Co-operative Research Center is conducting a world-first study into 700 sheep with 20 different genetic lines each is fed, then shepherded into a booth where scientists measure their burp outputs.


Every little bit counts....
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brooklynite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:00 AM
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1. It builds up inside until they explode?
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Skink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:11 AM
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2. Sounds like Spinal Tap.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:33 AM
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3. How burpless are they?
I'm going to foil their plot and feed the sheep radishes and lentils. Maybe even a bean burrito or two. Let's see how burpless they are, then!
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:48 AM
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4. If the methane doesn't come out of one end, it'll come out the other.
This is just silly.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-10 04:54 PM
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6. You can plug the back end though.
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borderjumpers Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-10 12:02 PM
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5. Valuing What They Already Have
Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

Richard Haigh doesnt look like your typical African pastoralist. Unlike many Africans who grew up tending cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock, Richard started his farm in 2007 at the age of 40. He quit his 95 job at a nongovernmental organization and bought 23 acres of land outside Durban, South Africa.

He wanted to totally change his life.

Today, he runs Enaleni Farm (enaleni means abundance in Zulu), raising endangered Zulu sheep, Nguni cattle (a breed indigenous to South Africa that is very resistant to pests), and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Richard is cultivating GMO-free soya, as well as traditional maize varieties. All the maize tells a story, he says. Like the sheep and cattle, many maize varieties are resistant to drought, climate change, and diseases, making them a smart choice for farmers all over Africa.

This sort of mixed-crop livestock system is becoming increasingly rare in South Africa, according to Richard, because of commercial farms that rely on monoculture crops rather than on diverse agricultural systems.

Richard likes to say that his farm isnt organic, but rather an example of how agro-ecological methods can work. He practices push-pull agriculture, which uses alternating intercropping of plants that repel pests (pushing them away from the harvest) and ones that attract pests (pulling them away from the harvest) to increase yields. He also uses animal manure and compost for fertilizer.

But perhaps the most important thing Richard is doing at Enaleni doesnt have to do with the various agricultural methods and practices hes using. Its about the stories hes telling on the farm. By showing local people the tremendous benefits that indigenous cattle and sheep breeds, and sustainably grown crops, can have for the environment and livelihoods, hes putting both an ecological and economic value on something thats been neglected. Local people dont value what they have, says Richard, because extension agents have tended to promote exotic livestock and expensive inputs.

In addition, Richard asks himself what can we do that is specific to where we live? In other words, how can we promote local sources of agricultural diversity that are good for the land and for people?

Richard is also helping document the diversity on his farm. Hes been sending blood samples to the South African National Research Foundation to help them build a DNA hoof print of what makes up a Zulu sheep. This sort of research is important not only for conserving the sheep, but for helping to increase local knowledge about the breeds that people have been raising for generations.

As a result of his conservation work, Richard and Enaleni Farm have been recognized by Slow Food International, which wants to work with the farm and local communities to find ways to ensure that the Zulu sheep dont disappear.

Richard hopes to share his knowledge about agriculture with local farmers, teaching them how to spot and prevent disease in indigenous sheep, as well as explaining agro-ecological methods of raising food.
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