vegetable + green matter decomposition

JimAndy

Member
Location
portadown
On the radio today they had the usually vegetarian "expert" on tell us we need to stop eating meat to save the world.
as he prattled on.. i was thinking what happens the land if we stop keeping livestock. most of it is not that good for growing vegs, so lets say we "rewild it" now plant grow and plant die. i wonder how much gas do those rotting plants give off compared to cattle.
and when i'm on this topic. to get the eatable part of any veg/fruit. there a LOT of biomass unused , has anyone ever done any researched into how much GHG it gives off. as it time we start fight back with the real facts
 
Last edited:

Bogweevil

Member
Your veggie expert will say plant with timber and use the timber for fuel to replace fossil fuels or in building, to replace concrete and bricks, where it will be locked up for decades until the building is replaced when the wood can be re-used or burnt for fuel. A timber tree takes just 50 years to grow in wetter, milder parts of Britain.

The thing about vegetation is that it takes CO2 from the air and fixes it for a while, so you are talking about an on-going reduction in CO2 as more is planted, we hope, than destroyed. A cow's gut manufactures methane from material that would otherwise rot to release the less potent greenhouse gas, CO2. If, and it is vey big if, we can curb CO2, we won't see much reduction in levels until after 2050, but curbing methane production will deliver faster results. Livestock are only one source of methane, both enteric in ruminants and more importantly from manure - oil and gas production and distribution and also waste disposal are very important sources globally. But unfortunately agriculture is heavily implicated in Britain - this is not going away and very uncertain times are ahead for graziers and people who like a nice lamb chop or a beef steak or a morsel of cheese.

When you harvest a field of Brussels sprouts a humungous amount of biomass is left behind, onions and carrots not so much. The biomass is incorporated into the soil where it rots releasing CO2 with some, a very tiny amount, fixed as longer term soil organic matter. It is unclear how more can be fixed in the soil.

Fruit sheds it leaves every autumn and these are shredded with any prunings, sprayed with urea to hasten rotting which kills disease spores, and are taken back in to the soil by worms etc. An orchard with grass alleyways soon develops a soil with a high organic matter over the 25 year life of the orchard and if the trees can be mulched with low nitrogen municipal compost the soil organic matter vastly increases. Fruit can be excellent against climate change, but you cannot live on cherries.
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
Presumably all of the biomass of crops is eventually incorporated into people, or makes its way into the sewer?

For me, I cannot see past the issue is fossil carbon being released. Worrying about the proportion of the carbon cycle currently being methane or carbon dioxide is missing the 50lb gorilla is that we must decarbonise energy.
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
I dont have time to counter your argument with the disdain it deserves, but your graph (copied below) is full of sh!t, post it's source please, and refer to the official EU Eurostat graph linked under yours.

You're presumably a farmer, you should be able to see a different between your claimed 48% and the EU's 10% (although you conveniently forgot to label your graph).
Pretty please with sugar on top, do some f**king research before you post.

1628521155979.png



Compare and contrast with the official EU figures (source: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/infographs/energy/bloc-4a.html )



Screen Shot 2021-08-09 at 15.56.05.png
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
I thought it was interesting that all the coverage today has referred to the global warming which has occurred since the beginning of industrialisation. We should be able to capitalise on this by pointing out that livestock methane production is nothing to do with burning fossil fuels for industry, but no doubt our representative bodies will be their usual silent selves. Livestock and grassland sequestration are part of the solution, not the problem.
 

Bogweevil

Member

Apologies - I meant to delete the image as not particularly helpful, - its source is: A Local Ecosystem Assessment of the Potential for Net Negative Heavy-Duty Truck Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Biomethane Upcycling https://www.researchgate.net/public...se_Gas_Emissions_through_Biomethane_Upcycling - it is open access so you can download the report

They got the figures from Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 2018 Final Greenhouse Gas Emissions Figures; Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS): London, UK, 2020 https://assets.publishing.service.g...enhouse_gas_emissions_statistical_release.pdf

The reason for the discrepancies appear to be that the EU graph you usefully cite is that it shows all greenhouse gas emissions and not just methane. Your graph shows the emissions in CO2 equivalents, unfortunately reducing methane is seen as the only way to reduce warming in the shorter term which is why it gets so much attention. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56933443 Expert opinion is that the easiest way to reduce methane is to produce oil and gas more efficiently and dispose of landfill better, but of course our veggie friends like to lay into farm methane for their own separate agenda.
 

Bogweevil

Member
Presumably all of the biomass of crops is eventually incorporated into people, or makes its way into the sewer?

For me, I cannot see past the issue is fossil carbon being released. Worrying about the proportion of the carbon cycle currently being methane or carbon dioxide is missing the 50lb gorilla is that we must decarbonise energy.

Yes, all those lovely harvested veg go down the pan but some sewage works use anaerobic digestion of the sewage to generate methane and save some of the fuel needed to run them. Of course veg (and fruit) are the most wasted foodstuffs and if the waste is landfilled generate methane, but in the UK at least most now goes to AD.

I agree - energy production is the most important factor, but there is apparently more scope for reducing methane emissions from landfill and oil/gas production more quickly than power stations can be decommissioned. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56933443 Unfortunately veggie enthusiasts make undue emphasis on agricultural methane production for their own veggie agendas.
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
Yes, all those lovely harvested veg go down the pan but some sewage works use anaerobic digestion of the sewage to generate methane and save some of the fuel needed to run them. Of course veg (and fruit) are the most wasted foodstuffs and if the waste is landfilled generate methane, but in the UK at least most now goes to AD.

I agree - energy production is the most important factor, but there is apparently more scope for reducing methane emissions from landfill and oil/gas production more quickly than power stations can be decommissioned. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56933443 Unfortunately veggie enthusiasts make undue emphasis on agricultural methane production for their own veggie agendas.
Out of interest, when methane is burnt to produce power, does it not release the carbon as CO2?
We stayed near an AD plant last week and it got me thinking about it.
 

Raider112

Member
Your veggie expert will say plant with timber and use the timber for fuel to replace fossil fuels or in building, to replace concrete and bricks, where it will be locked up for decades until the building is replaced when the wood can be re-used or burnt for fuel. A timber tree takes just 50 years to grow in wetter, milder parts of Britain.

The thing about vegetation is that it takes CO2 from the air and fixes it for a while, so you are talking about an on-going reduction in CO2 as more is planted, we hope, than destroyed. A cow's gut manufactures methane from material that would otherwise rot to release the less potent greenhouse gas, CO2. If, and it is vey big if, we can curb CO2, we won't see much reduction in levels until after 2050, but curbing methane production will deliver faster results. Livestock are only one source of methane, both enteric in ruminants and more importantly from manure - oil and gas production and distribution and also waste disposal are very important sources globally. But unfortunately agriculture is heavily implicated in Britain - this is not going away and very uncertain times are ahead for graziers and people who like a nice lamb chop or a beef steak or a morsel of cheese.

When you harvest a field of Brussels sprouts a humungous amount of biomass is left behind, onions and carrots not so much. The biomass is incorporated into the soil where it rots releasing CO2 with some, a very tiny amount, fixed as longer term soil organic matter. It is unclear how more can be fixed in the soil.

Fruit sheds it leaves every autumn and these are shredded with any prunings, sprayed with urea to hasten rotting which kills disease spores, and are taken back in to the soil by worms etc. An orchard with grass alleyways soon develops a soil with a high organic matter over the 25 year life of the orchard and if the trees can be mulched with low nitrogen municipal compost the soil organic matter vastly increases. Fruit can be excellent against climate change, but you cannot live on cherries.
The obvious flaw in all that is that burning timber for fuel releases all the carbon it took years to store.
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
The obvious flaw in all that is that burning timber for fuel releases all the carbon it took years to store.
No net increase = no problem in the long term

Same goes for using methane from AD plants.

Net increase in carbon is due to fossil carbon stores (oil, gas and coal) being dug up and burnt. We need renewables, nuclear power, electrification of transport and industry (via overhead wires, batteries or 'cleanly' produced hydrogen) and energy efficiency. Sooner the better although no idea how we are going to pay for it.
 

Raider112

Member
No net increase = no problem in the long term

Same goes for using methane from AD plants.

Net increase in carbon is due to fossil carbon stores (oil, gas and coal) being dug up and burnt. We need renewables, nuclear power, electrification of transport and industry (via overhead wires, batteries or 'cleanly' produced hydrogen) and energy efficiency. Sooner the better although no idea how we are going to pay for it.
Is that right? Sure I read that if the wood is used for building etc the carbon was preserved but by burning it the carbon was released? I may have misunderstood it.
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
No net increase = no problem in the long term

Same goes for using methane from AD plants.

Net increase in carbon is due to fossil carbon stores (oil, gas and coal) being dug up and burnt. We need renewables, nuclear power, electrification of transport and industry (via overhead wires, batteries or 'cleanly' produced hydrogen) and energy efficiency. Sooner the better although no idea how we are going to pay for it.
That doesn’t square with the attacks on ruminants. 🤔
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
Is that right? Sure I read that if the wood is used for building etc the carbon was preserved but by burning it the carbon was released? I may have misunderstood it.
You are right - it is released. But the carbon that the tree is made out of was in the atmosphere. Over a long-ish time period there's no net increase in carbon dioxide.

The damage that is being done to the climate is by dumping a huge amount of carbon dioxide which was locked away underground for millions and millions of years.

We could sequester carbon by cutting down trees and throwing them into a disused coal mine and capping it.
 

CHAP Webinar - Innovative tools to overcome the challenges of Regen Ag

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Applying principles of regen ag can incur a range of on-farm challenges. Learn how innovative tools & machinery can help with these hurdles.

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