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Swedes to probe cow-belch threat to planet

Bovine methane menace

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Swedish researchers have secured $590,000 to determine just how much methane is emitted by belching cows, AP reports.

While it's well known that cows pump out rather a lot of methane as a side product of digestion, 95 per cent of their gaseous output actually comes via belching.

That's according to project leader Jan Bertilsson of the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, whose team will examine how bovine methane levels are affected by the animals' diet. He told AP the cows in the study will be stuck on different diets and the methane monitored by a device strapped to their necks.

The Swedes are not, however, pioneers in the field of oral cow gas investigation. Bertilsson noted: "This type of research is already being conducted in Canada so we will be in contact with Canadian agricultural researchers in the near future."

In case you're wondering who's footing the bill for the project, the big cheque is courtesy of the government's Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. ®

Bootnote

The usual ta very much to Mike Richards for the tip-off about this "top Scandinavian boffinry", as he puts it.

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