Thank to SWMBO for sending me this article on how farmers are producing electricity from the poop generated by their cows. It is a good article and I’ve talked to a few farmers who have installed these power generation systems and they work well. Like the farmers mentioned in the article, some were looking at installing additional systems based on their experience so far so considering how much they cost, they must be a good return for a conventional farmer.
So first, good for them. They are taking what is a toxic by-product of their farm and generating electricity, fertilizer, and cow bedding material from it. It is a closed loop system with little outside inputs besides lots of money. It’s not exactly a new idea, as anyone who has seen Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome knows. Oh well, it is a good solution to a problem that was created by concentrated operations in the first place.
But what about on our farm? I’ve had customers ask us what we do with all the cow poo. Do we have lagoons? Do we have a discharge permit? Good Lord no. Poo is only a problem when you generate it artificially by concentrating animals at unhealthy levels. Our cows poop just as much as confined cows do. But instead of having to scoop it up and haul it to a lagoon, we let the cows poop it on the ground right there in the pasture. Then we move the cows the next day and that poop becomes a hub of life for the bugs and critters that are part of the natural ecosystem. By the time that cows come back to that same patch of grass in 30 days or so, the poop is completely gone. Biology has turned it into part of the soil. This is the natural system, the way God intended it, which means it works without ANY outside inputs.
Oh, and I mentioned previously that even Organic farms produce meat with super bugs. Do you think cow bedding made from cow poo might have some bugs floating around in it? The more you try to work around the natural system, the more you introduce new problems you hadn’t thought of.