Quatre Saisons - natural sustainable farming
Quatre Saisons

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Yass River Road
YASS NSW 2582
P: 0411 093 035
F: 02 6123 6111
E: Quatre Saisions
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Australian wattle is one of the family of Acacia being researched in Australia and in Africa to better understand the methane busting property of its chemical make up.

 

Hear Alan Savory talk about grazing, climate change and his philosophy of holistic management here. This TED recording is current, being recorded in February, 2013.

Carbon footprint of Cattle

On Quatrè Saisons, our animals are rotated around 40 acre paddocks and always have access to grass or hay made from natural paddock grasses. In summer and autumn we rest our native pastures and supplement our cattle with green sprouted barley, oaten hay and rich lucerne.

The seasonal cycle of pasture, organically grown local fodder and high protien grain* forage is key in the environmental stewardship of our land. And for the stock is naturally better. 

Methane-busting feed supplements could be available commercially in as little as three years, but for us on Quatrè Saisons, we will continue to encourage our animals to graze wattle.  Wattle is rich in complex plant proteins and is used as a natural addition to our animals diet to increase the antioxidants that work to balance the methane producing enzymes too. Australian Acacia is one of the group of plants that has been found to contain the essential oils that predigests methane in the gut.

Some microbes respire in the cattle gut by an anaerobic process known as methanogenesis (producing the gas methane). Cattle emit a large volume of methane, 95% of it through the release of gas from the digestive tract through the mouth or burping, not flatulence.  As the carbon in the methane comes from the digestion of vegetation produced by photosynthesis, its release into the air by this process would normally be considered harmless, because there is no net increase in carbon in the atmosphere — it's removed as carbon dioxide from the air by photosynthesis and returned to it as methane. The issue is not so much the numbers of cattle and sheep as the increasing air and water tempretures reducing the uptake of methane and other gases combined with the diminishing plant coverage capable of producing oxygen transfer in the atmosphere. 

Carbon sequestration in soils, locked into pasture grasses and by food crops has now become critically important in the efforts to balance sustainable food production for the planets growing population and the effects of climate change.

Understanding cattle biology

Understanding cattle biology is essential and caring for animals in humane and optimal ways is long overdue. Small  farms lead the way in this. Cattle care that includes a wholisitic approach to nutrition and minimal pharmacology is our aim. The native landscape at Quatrè Saisons is our best asset in this aim.

Natural plant extracts contain essential oils which have been found to have a beneficial effect on bacteria in the cow's rumen - the first section of the stomach. Research is underway on methods of reducing the methane produced by cattle and sheep through the use of dietary supplements, or treatments to reduce the proportion of methanogenetic microbes, perhaps by vaccination. In the UK an EU-funded project led by scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen are working to create a "safe, green alternative" to existing additives such as antibiotics.

Researchers believe believe that plant extracts could increase the efficiency of livestock production, help the environment and slow the spread of antibiotic resistance in human infections.

 

* forage that is gathered in the old time honored way of cutting while the grain head remains unripe ensures the energy of the plant remains in the stems offfering maximum nutrition and in no way impacts cattles digestion or risk grain poisioning. You can research more about the negative impact modern hay making, for example leaving forage to stand longer in the feilds till fully ripe to better facilitiate the cutting blades of modern combine harvesters,  impacts on animal health through reading more about biodynamic farming and Rudolf Steiners writings.

Did you know kangaroo farts are environmentally friendly?

In Australia, scientists already know that kangaroo stomachs are more than just green. Instead of methane, they produce acetate, a chemical that improves digestion...