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Study of B.C. dairy manure for fertilizer funded

A project to develop a slow-release fertilizer using nutrients recovered from dairy manure waste will get over $200,000 in federal funding.

Fraser Valley-area MP Randy Kamp announced $203,500 in funding Wednesday in Agassiz, B.C. for the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Dairy Education and Research Centre and Department of Civil Engineering to create such a fertilizer.

The centre will experiment with processing of animal manure using extraction technologies developed to treat municipal waste. Excess phosphorus and nitrogen will be recovered from the manure to create slow-release fertilizer, the government said.

The study will also explore converting the bio-energy produced during the recovery process into heat or electricity, the government said in a release.

Kamp also announced another $30,000 for the UBC Animal Welfare Program to examine how the overall health of dairy cattle is affected by the design and comfort of their living facilities.

The results of this study, which will involve surveys of 45 Fraser Valley dairy farms, are expected to help dairy farmers better understand cow comfort and its relationship to cow health, production and fertility, the government said.

Information will be recorded at the farms dealing with barn and stall design, animal behaviour and animal health.

The funding for both projects will come from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program, delivered in B.C. by the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF).

“Whether it’s enhancing producer knowledge and training for dairy professionals or capturing value from agricultural waste and byproducts, if it’s a priority for industry it’s a priority for the Foundation,” IAF chair Stuart Wilson said in the government’s release.

“Industry groups come to us with their project ideas in these areas and we then provide the necessary investment to enable them to make it happen.”

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