Sunday, June 04, 2017

Small is beautiful

When large numbers of animals are farmed intensively on industrial units to maximise profits, problems are inevitable. Disease control and food safety are prime issues as is environmental sustainability. Since the Second World War, agricultural practices have gone through massive changes, in mechanisation, chemical use and large-scale intensive farming.
As a result of increasing the density of domestic farm animals, reported farm pollution incidents have sky-rocketed. In some areas farm waste is a major problem. Some countries report that about half of all serious water pollution incidents are caused by manure run-off from farms. Poultry, cows and pigs are the farm animals most responsible for the pollution. Livestock production occupies 70% of all land used for agriculture and 30% of the planet’s land surface. It is responsible for 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. It also generates 64% of the ammonia, which contributes to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.
A large quantity of animal waste is generated by concentrated animal feeding operations and disposal of the waste has been a major problem. The industrialised farms collect the animal waste and mix it with water to form slurry. To be spread on paddocks as fertiliser. If the soil or plants are unable to absorb the nutrients the run-off gets into water systems. On Intensive free range farms running 10,000 hens per hectare, the huge volume of manure on paddocks poses an ecological risk to water courses because of the high nutrient load. Farm waste has led to the growth of toxic algae in waterways (algal blooms), the development of parasitic infections on frogs, and other species. This is why all farms should follow an Environmental Management plan and why low stocking densities should be maintained.Small-scale diversified farming is better than monocultures and intensive farming. But there is some way to go before the egg industry and agriculture as a whole is environmentally sustainable.All this led to the reason for us to start developing webinars to encourage people to set up free range egg farms and wed have a crowd funding campaign to ensure it is a top quality offering.

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