Midwestern Hog Farms Keep Mysteriously Exploding

6506284705_6ed9d1801a_bHog farming is even grosser than you imagined. Farms keep spontaneously blowing  up due to chemical interactions involving bacteria-laden gas and a brown goop of sketchy origin. Ars Technica writes:

Since 2009, six farms have blown up after methane trapped in an unidentified, pit-topping foam caught a spark. In the afflicted region, the foam is found in roughly 1 in 4 hog farms.

There’s nothing farmers can do except be very careful. Researchers aren’t even sure what the foam is. “This has all started in the last four or five years here. We don’t have any idea where it came from or how it got started,” said agricultural engineer Charles Clanton. “Whatever has happened is new.”

A gelatinous goop that resembles melted brown Nerf, the foam captures gases emitted by bacteria living in manure, which on industrial farms gathers in pits beneath barns that may contain several thousand animals. The pits are emptied each fall, after which waste builds up again, turning them into something like giant stomachs: dark, oxygen-starved percolators in which bacteria and single-celled organisms metabolize the muck.

17 Comments on "Midwestern Hog Farms Keep Mysteriously Exploding"

  1. Buuuumm! Shit everywhere.

  2. I suspect some terrorist pigs who got past the DHS.

    • Calypso_1 | Mar 17, 2012 at 2:40 am |

      were those pigs halal?

      • Filthy infidel swine! Pigs are never halal. This is why a martyr can be denied the pleasures of paradise by dipping your weapon in the accursed blood of the piggy abomination.

  3. I love me some bacon, but commercial hog farming is an environmental abomination.

  4. Can anyone explain to me why this methane gas is just dispersed instead of being used as a natural gas to (at the very least) run farm machinery if not to be sold commercially?

  5. Broken_Finger | Mar 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    Factory farming:  So cheap!  So efficient!  So…shitty and foamy.  They should be renamed Santorums.  

  6. some farms do utilize this methane, as a source of energy; but its probably under utilized.

  7. Dave Holcomb | Mar 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |

    When you’re operating on such a scale that the methane byproducts of decomposing poop have the potential to blow your roof off … well, then maybe you’ve got a few too many pigs in one place. Industrial farming. They may be their own worst enemies. 

  8. Calypso_1 | Mar 17, 2012 at 2:39 am |

    Let’s outsource the pork industry to Iran.  That’ll learn’em.

  9. Shit is flammable. Where’s the “mystery”?

    • DeepCough | Mar 19, 2012 at 2:22 am |

      Funny, somehow the “terrorists” haven’t figured this one out, either.

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