More Porkers than People

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New statistics on the number of slaughtered pigs in Spain have stirred fears in the country’s media that the animals may soon outnumber the human population and end up hogging local resources.

The Ministry of Environment released figures this week saying that Spain had slaughtered some 50m pigs last year – 3.5m more than the country’s 46.5m population.

This has led to local papers voicing their concern that Spain’s pig population had managed to surpass its human population. However, according to Euronews, there are 16 million fewer pigs than people at any given time, with many piglets being slaughtered shortly after they are born.

It is, however, becoming a wider concern throughout the European Union that the rapid growth of pig farming may lead to there being more porkers than people.

Strain on local resources
Currently, the only European Union country with more pigs than people is Denmark, with Eurostat figures from 2016 putting its pig-to-human population at 215 pigs for every 100 people. Denmark’s human population is 5.7m, meaning that there are approximately 12.3m pigs.

However, The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium all have large pig populations that are rapidly catching up with human population figures.

Concerns are perhaps greatest for Spain, given that with some 30 million pigs, it has the largest pig population of any European Union country.

According to the Publico newspaper, Spain has seen a surge of pig farming over the last five years to meet a growing demand to export pork products such as Iberico ham and Jamon Serrano to large pork-eating countries, including China, Japan and Southeast Asia.

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But the domestic expansion of pig farming is putting a strain on the country’s environmental resources.

Many areas of Spain suffer from heavy drought, and each animal requires some 15 litres (3.3 gallons) of water a day. NGO Ecologists in Action also warns that the animals risk contaminating what little groundwater is left with animal waste nitrates.

And as the Ministry of Ecological Transition highlights, the animals are also responsible for a large number of greenhouse gas emissions.

The ministry says that currently in Spain, they are responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country, and are the fourth largest producer after electricity, industry and transport.

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BBC

Number of pigs worldwide in 2018, by leading country (in million head)*

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Inglis Grain Elevators National Historic Site

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Inglis elevator row is a row of five wooden grain elevators located alongside the former Canadian Pacific Railway track bed, in the village of Inglis, Manitoba, Canada. Because so many grain elevators have been demolished throughout Western Canada, the Inglis elevator row preserves rare examples of a formerly common sight from “the golden age of grain.” In recognition of the elevators in Inglis being the last elevator row in Canada, they have been protected as a National Historic Site of Canada.

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The arrival of the railroad in the smaller communities of Manitoba offered both risk and reward for villages. When the railroad reached Inglis in 1922, allowing grain from the area to reach distant markets, the nearby town of Asessippi was quickly abandoned. By the end of 1922, four of the five elevators in Inglis were already built, quickly followed by a number of shops and businesses. The Inglis row consists of five wood-crib elevators:

N. M. Paterson Company, built in 1922 using then-state of the art dust control systems.
Reliance elevators, built by Matheson-Lindsay in 1922 as a single elevator. The elevator was then taken over by Province Elevator Co. later becoming Reliance Elevators in the 1930s. By 1941 a new “twin” elevator was added for more space. Manitoba Pool bought the elevators in 1952 and lastly sold to United Grain Growers in 1971. The elevators have since been fully restored back to their original signage as Reliance elevators.
United grain growers elevator, originally built by United Grain Growers in 1922 but replaced after it was destroyed by fire in 1925. Annexes were added 1949.
National elevator, built by the Northern Elevator Co. in 1922 later taken over by National in the 1940s and then Cargill and last Paterson Grain in 1979. The elevator has been completely restored as a gift shop.

With the loss of wooden grain elevators across western Canada, the “Five Prairie Giants” of Inglis have become a popular tourist destination and were named one of Manitoba’s top ten architectural icons.

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The grain elevators of the present time. Huge concrete structures.

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A Tribute to the Combine Harvester

With crops on the Canadian prairies still in the early stages of growth it’s a bit early for the farmers to pull out the combines. That that will be happening in 5-7 weeks. Down in the States the harvest will be starting shortly.  The most integral part of the harvest today is the combine.  And there are many variations when it comes to these giant machines.  They come in all colours and sizes.  The pictures below illustrate this. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

A combine from many years ago

 

Another old one.  No cab for the driver.  The driver would have to sit in the dust and chaff for many hours at a time.

The modern combine harvester, or simply combine, is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate operations comprising harvesting—reaping, threshing, and winnowing—into a single process. Among the crops harvested with a combine are wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn (maize), sorghum, soybeans, flax (linseed), sunflowers, and canola. The waste straw left behind on the field is the remaining dried stems and leaves of the crop with limited nutrients which is either chopped and spread on the field or baled for feed and bedding for livestock.
Combine harvesters are one of the most economically important labour saving inventions, significantly reducing the fraction of the population that must be engaged in agriculture.

 

 

Sometimes the beasts operate in packs

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Conventional combine harvester (cut)

1) Reel
2) Cutter bar
3) Header auger
4) Grain conveyor
5) Stone trap
6) Threshing drum
7) Concave
8) Straw walker
9) Grain pan
10) Fan
11) Top Adjustable sieve
12) Bottom sieve
13) Tailings conveyor
14) Rethreshing of tailings
15) Grain auger
16) Grain tank
17) Straw chopper
18) Driver’s cab
19) Engine
20) Unloading auger
21) Impeller

The heavyweight Cattle breed in the World

Chianina

The Chianina is an Italian breed of cattle, formerly principally a draught breed, now raised mainly for beef. It is the largest and one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. The famous bistecca alla fiorentina (‘beefsteak Florentine style’) is produced from its meat.

One of the oldest breeds of cattle, the Chianina originates in the area of the Valdichiana, from which it takes its name, and the middle Tiber valley. Chianina cattle have been raised in the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for at least 2200 years.

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The Chianina is both the tallest and the heaviest breed of cattle. Mature bulls stand up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), and castrated oxen may reach 2 m (6 ft 7 in). It is not unusual for bulls to exceed 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) in weight. Males standing over 1.51 m (4 ft 11 in) at 12 months are considered top-grade. A Chianina bull named Donetto holds the world record for the heaviest bull, reported by one source as 1,740 kg (3,840 lb) when exhibited at the Arezzo show in 1955, but as 1,780 kg (3,920 lb) and 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) tall at the age of 8 by others including the Tenuta La Fratta, near Sinalunga in the province of Siena, where he was bred. Cows usually weigh 800–900 kg (1,800–2,000 lb), but commonly exceed 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); those standing over 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in) are judged top-grade. Calves routinely weigh over 50 kg (110 lb) at birth. The coat of the Chianina is white; very slight grey shading round the eyes and on the foreparts is tolerated. The skin, muzzle, switch, hooves and the tips of the horns are black.

At the end of 2010 there were 47,236 head registered in Italy, of which more than 90% were in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio; it is, after the Marchigiana, the second indigenous beef breed of Italy.

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Don’t want one these beasts to get agitated when you are nearby.

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Their history as draft animals means that Chianinas were bred for docile temperaments, as they had to work closely with people. That good disposition is important in a cow as large as the Chianina.

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