Earth Day is every day

By Jena Griffiths | April 23, 2015

Last Sunday I went to visit Thomas Rippel on the farm where he is learning the craft of turning straw into gold. When I interviewed Thomas a few weeks ago he hold me that the secret to preserving cow manure, and preventing it from rotting, was not to remove any of it from the barn the whole long winter. When manure rots it gives off ammonia and methane into the atmosphere. But if you can prevent it from breaking down you can then use it later to make rich humus for your lands. This rich humus not only nourishes plants, it also holds a huge amount of carbon in the soil that would otherwise go into the atmosphere. So instead of cows contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming they are actually part of the solution. Straw gets added on top of the manure on the ground daily and the cows simply compress what is under their feet. It keeps them warm and content in winter and, surprisingly, doesn’t stink at all. The compression of the manure prevents it breaking down and emitting toxic substances. Virtually all ammonia emissions are prevented.
I think this is a breakthrough idea and totally do-able on a larger scale. In fact, Thomas is currently consulting for an EU project where this method is being applied to a stable with 1500 cows. It is a tried and tested method. Thomas learned his craft of soil regeneration from someone who has been practicing and perfecting it for generations. The best part is, Thomas is not keeping the recipe a secret. He has a mission to share this solution for our soils, our atmosphere and our earth with the whole world.
You can listen to the interview with Thomas here.

Visit and like his website here: Swiss Bio Farmer Or get him to consult in your area.
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Topics: ecology and nature | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Earth Day is every day”

  1. Thomas Rippel Says:
    April 24th, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Hi Jena

    Thank you for the wonderful write-up.
    Here is some very interesting relevant information i read recently:
    The German environmental Ministry says that Ammonia emissions cause 27 Euros in Environmental damage per kilo! German Agriculture produces 600 million kilos of ammonia emissions per year. That makes 16.2 billions Euros in environmental damage. Our method on the farm of composting the manure causes more than 90% less ammonia emissions.
    Extrapolating the numbers from our farm, I made a rough calculation and it would cost Germany about 10 billion Euros to compost all the manure in the whole country.
    That would mean that we save 6 billion per year AND save tens of millions of tons of CO2 AND end up with super fertile soils for free!

    http://www.noz.de/deutschland-welt/politik/artikel/564217/umweltschadliches-ammoniak-deutlich-hoherer-ausstoss

  2. Jena Griffiths Says:
    April 24th, 2015 at 8:42 am

    HI Thomas, That’s incredible.
    How much manure does Germany produce each year?
    In your 1500 cow pilot study, how much manure is produced and how much does it cost to compost?
    How much compost do they produce? What are the savings?
    Thanks

  3. Thomas Rippel Says:
    August 19th, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Jena

    Sorry I didnt see your comment there. Would be great if it would send an email whenever a follow up comment is added.
    The EU project with the 1500 cows has just been extended for another year because it is taking longer to implement the composting and biochar measures. We will have final results by the end of next year. I will share the results as soon as i can.

  4. Jena Griffiths Says:
    August 20th, 2015 at 8:47 am

    HI Thomas, can your methods also be applied to warmer countries eg Australia and Africa?
    Instead of compacting and preserving the dung over winter could they dry it in the sun and then store until enough to convert?

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