Researchers trying to figure out how bacteria survive in cow dung despite the winter cold have set up a study on a classroom roof.
Team leader Dena McMartin says data from 14 rural sites in the last several years has shown really high bacterial counts in the spring.
But she says there are too many variables in the field and not enough reality in lab work.
The rooftop offers a controlled environment and a weather station next door easily tracks conditions the specimens experience.
McMartin says figuring out how bacteria withstand the cold can ultimately increase farm productivity and keep water and soil safer.
Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, Water Security Agency of Saskatchewan and Agriculture Canada have been working with the Regina group.
The Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre is also involved.
"Our goal with the project overall is to provide farmers with really good information that helps them manage their farm better, increase their economic productivity, while also preserving the environment and human safety," McMartin said.