Methane gas from cows makes for illuminating interview

The way Reaseheath converts the slurry from our dairy cows into a renewable energy source made for an illuminating interview on BBC Radio Stoke this week.

Farm Manager Mark Yearsley described the workings of our two Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants, which produce biogas from slurry. By producing our own energy and using it to power some of our campus buildings, we have been able to cut our electricity consumption by 15%.

Our two plants are demonstration units and widely used to promote on- farm AD to farming groups, who regularly tour the facility.

Mark has recently returned  from a scholarship to America, during which he studied the AD systems over there.

His chat with reporter John Acres followed an international story about an explosion in a building housing cattle in Germany, allegedly caused by the build up of methane gas produced by the animals.

Although sceptical about the amount of methane allegedly produced by the animals, Mark talked about the digestive systems of cattle and how the end product could be used sustainably. The interview was observed by an attentive group of cows from our elite herd, who obligingly provided some sound effects.

Two interviews – one about our cows and one about our AD plants – were broadcast on Monday February 3rd on Perry Spiller’s popular mid morning show.

BBC Radio Stoke regularly consult us for our expertise on rural subjects such as food, farming and horticulture.

Two weeks ago Horticulture Unit manager Neil Bebbington gave a very good live interview from our weather station describing the extreme weather patterns being recorded on the daily data. During the same week, Sam Walton was called upon to answer the bizarre question as to whether a cow could get up if a wall was built in front of it while it was lying down. (This was a radio quiz question and the answer is ‘No’, because cows need to lunge forward when they are getting up!)