U.S. Funds $700,000 Study on Cow Burps to “Cut Greenhouse Emissions”

Saturday November 6th, 2010   •   Posted by David Theroux at 6:12pm PDT   •  

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the University of New Hampshire and outside researchers funding of $700,000 in corporate welfare to create “a computer model to help organic dairy farmers cut greenhouse gas emissions such as methane, because Beano probably isn’t an option.”

Nitrogen- and carbon-based greenhouse gases are produced via a complicated system at dairy farms that is affected by everything from the weather to the soil to the feed to cow burps, among other things.

“Cows emit most of their methane through belching, only a small fraction from flatulence,” said the project’s principal investigator, Ruth Varner of UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space. . . .

The idea is to use the various factors to create a computer model that farmers can use to plug in data for their own farms.

“The real goal is to get a decision support tool that captures the very complicated biology of these systems and uses rigorous science that can support the model results,” said Bill Salas, president of Applied GeoSolutions LLC, which is creating the computer model. . . .

The grant will also be used to create programs meant to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crops, which tend to be significantly more expensive.

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November 2010