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Development of dietary and waste management strategies allowing the reduction of methane from dairy farms contributing to the fight against climate change

The United Nations Environment Program and Climate and Clean Air Coalition mentions in its 2021 report that globally, agriculture is responsible for 40% of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions, followed by fuels fossil fuels (35%) and waste management (20%). Aware of this fact, the milk producers' federations of Canada and Quebec are making great efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by planning to be carbon neutral by 2050. In close collaboration with the dairy sector, Agrinova has built an industry-public research institute consortium in order to propose major actions to combat climate change. This consortium notably brings together Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, the Nutrinor cooperative, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), as well as Quebec companies offering interesting food additives: Nuvac Éco-science, Probiotech and Imagine Zeolite. One of the actions is the present project and the objective is to study the effects of food and waste management strategies on the reduction of CH4 emissions from dairy farms. To do this, the project proposes two components. A first animal component targets cow feed and the reduction of enteric CH4. A second waste management component aims to recover animal waste into energy through on-farm biomethanation. The animal component offers a series of in vitro and in vivo tests in laboratories and commercial farms on various Quebec food additives with the potential to reduce enteric CH4. The waste management component will focus on the development of a biogas container system. Based on an AAFC pilot experimental device, this project plans to install a biomethanizer in a commercial dairy farm, which would make it possible to evaluate the efficiency, but also the manipulations necessary for the operation of a "farm" biomethanizer system. GHG avoidance analyzes will be carried out to determine the reduction in the ecological footprint made possible by food additives and biomethanation. Two scenarios will be built: one by proposing the association of two components and the other by isolating each component individually. An in-depth techno-economic analysis will also make it possible to identify the profitability of the two strategies one at a time and the two associated. These two approaches with strategies concerning the animal and the management of rejects are complementary since feed determines the constituents of the faeces and urine of the herd. In fact, the project tackles the two biggest sources of CH4 on a dairy farm, the rumen and manure. By studying the continuum of CH4 production on the farm, the results of the project could have a great effect in reducing GHG emissions from the dairy sector.

Stéphanie Claveau

Research and innovation team leader

CRIBIQ's contribution

$ 363 311


Industrial participants :

Probiotech International inc.

Imagine Zeolite

Nuvac Eco-Science inc.

Producteurs de lait du Québec


*Quebec public research institutes :