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Green Cows & Trees Roundup

July 3, 2009

Today’s cows are more efficient than those of 50 years ago.


Is modern milk greener? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

US dairies produce about fifty percent more milk today than they did in 1944, and they do it with far fewer cows. In fact, according to a new study from Cornell University, there are fewer than ten million dairy cows today, compared to over twenty-five million back then. They say modern dairies are also much better for the environment, using one tenth the land, and producing far less methane and manure.

In other environmental news, about fifty years ago, a fungus nearly wiped out chestnut trees in the US. Now, according to Purdue researchers, a new fungus-resistant chestnut tree is helping to fight climate change. They say the trees grow much faster than other hardwoods, capturing more carbon dioxide per year. And because they are made into furniture, rather than paper, they store that carbon for a long time, keeping it out of the atmosphere. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.