Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Science or Spin?



is an article titled, “Ag Sense: Carbon footprints: Fact vs. fiction.”

The article cites a Cornell study which promotes the use of rbST as salvation to dairy methane. Nowhere in the article is there any mention of rbST.

No one should get too excited about the merits of the study which is based upon skewing and assumptions. The study claims an average of 10 pound gain in milk production per cow from the use of rbST. However, there is no rbST bump in production per cow since rbST adaption. This is spite of Monsanto's claim for number of cows injected.

There is another serious problem with the study. Dropping technology and utilizing a pasture system will not take us back to 1944. I know of one organic Jersey herd with grazing and all home grown grain which pushes 15,000 pounds per cow.

According to some studies a well managed pasture system capture more air pollution per acre, in the Northeast, than an acre of rain forest.

Finally, with today's grain price and milk price, I would like to see the actual data, not assumptions, that rbST pays.


  1. John-

    You state that "Nowhere in the article is there any mention of rbST". There's a reason for that - the article is based on data from our recent paper in the Journal of Animal Science comparing U.S. dairying in 1944 to 2007. The use of rbST was covered in a previous paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    If you're going to crticize the work, may I suggest that you actually read the papers in future? Otherwise you might look a little silly.

    Dr Jude Capper

  2. I would like to see a study comparing the net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a well managed rotationally grazed dairy compared to a confinement dairy (with or without rBGH). I would hypothesis that with the carbon sink of perennial pastures and the lower use of fossil fuels, grazing dairies (despite higher methane emissions due to lower milk production per animal) would have net GHG emissions (CO2-C equivalent) significantly lower than confinement dairies. There are very few studies I have run across researching the GHG exchanges for grazed grasslands. Soussana et al. (Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 121 (2007) 121–134) studied 9 sites in Europe and concluded that even with accounting for the methane emissions of grazing ruminants, grasslands are still CO2-C equivalent sink. Please inform me if you know of similar studies or studies that test my hypothesis. We need researched alternatives to this Monsanto funded study.

  3. Global warming caused by man made CO2 and cow gas (methane) is bunk. First off, water vapor (clouds not included) accounts for up to 70% of global warming - undisputed fact. The sun is also, by all accounts, one of the biggest reasons for global warming/cooling. CO2 and methane are political scapegoats used for scaremongering.
    A quick lesson; methane is a very common, very, very simple ORGANIC gas, consisting of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). Methane has probably been around since the the beginning of time, and is part of a large family of gasses that include propane, butane, decane, and so on... each of these important, organic, alkanes consist of only carbon and hydrogen. We should be spreading the word about this political hoax, not buying into the BS (bad science).
    Jeff Suehring

  4. I don't dispute that methane is a completely normal GHG in our atmosphere. However, humans releasing billions of years of stored up carbon in less than 200 years shifts our atmosphere into a disequilibrium. Suddenly, all those naturally occurring GHG are under attack, and it is up to us to bring the atmosphere back into equilibrium, or our kids and grand kids will pay a heavy price for our ignorance.