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Government of Canada ponies up $1.1M to study cow farts

Cattle graze on a farm in this file photo.
Cattle graze on a farm in this file photo.

It may be a funny thought but the methane gas given off by cattle poses a significant environmental problem.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), right now the world cattle inventory is slightly less than a billion, 12 million of which are in Canada. India has a whopping 303 million. The gas released by all those cows breaking wind adds up.

The federal government announced a $1.1 million investment with the University of Lethbridge on Tuesday to study ways to reduce methane gas emissions in cattle.

It’s one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada.

The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.

"Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the cattle sector is important both environmentally, economically and helps build public trust,” said Eramus Okine, vice-president of research for the University of Lethbridge.

“Producers want to operate in a sustainable fashion and our study results will help them do that."

The study will investigate whether the use of biochar, a feed supplement, in beef cattle diets improves the efficiency of digestion and reduces the amount of methane gas produced.  

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