Source: Protein Industries Canada news release
Today, Protein Industries Canada announced the development of new technology that specifically targets pests when spraying fields, increasing efficiencies and providing economic benefits for farmers.
The technology uses artificial intelligence to detect weeds and other crop pests while passing over a field. This is estimated to reduce pesticide use by up to 95 per cent while maintaining crop yield, saving farmers approximately $52 per acre per growing season. Additionally, the technology can be retrofitted to upgrade new or existing sprayers, making it suitable for all Canadian farmers.
The $26.2 million project is being led by Precision.ai Inc., Sure Growth Solutions Inc., Exceed Grain Marketing and the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan. The partners are together investing $13.4 million into the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing the remaining $12.8 million. Approximately 120 new Canadian jobs are expected to be created through the project within the next five years.
“This new project supported by the Protein Supercluster is a great example of how the superclusters are bringing innovation to farming practices, using advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and creating new well-paying jobs. Through a collaborative effort between three SMEs and a university research centre, this project has the potential to dramatically reduce chemical pesticide use without sacrificing crop yield or quality,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
Designed by Canadians for Canadian farmers, the technology is intended to address the needs of the Canadian agriculture landscape first and foremost. It can, however, be used anywhere in the world, diversifying and strengthening Canada’s economy and providing benefits for farmers around the world.
“The effect this new technology will have on Canada’s plant-protein sector is tremendous,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “Consumers want plant-protein products that were grown sustainably, without sacrificing on quality or economic value.
This is particularly true in international trade where, despite Canada’s reputation as a supplier of high-quality agrifoods, our products are facing increasing testing. Thanks to the work being done by Precision.ai, Sure Growth Solutions, Exceed Grain Marketing and GIFS, Canada’s plant proteins are one step closer to being the highlight of plates of consumers around the world.”
Once the technology is fully developed, Precision.ai Inc., Sure Growth Solutions Inc., Exceed Grain Marketing and GIFS will expand on the project. Commodities grown using the technology will be tested for international maximum residue level (MRL) compliance and protein content. Both streams of testing will strengthen international market opportunities.
“This project embodies our mission of lowering pesticide use by combining artificial intelligence and robotic automation to achieve precision application,” said Daniel McCann, CEO & Founder of Precision.ai. “Our partnership with PIC, Sure Growth Solutions, Exceed Grain Marketing and GIFS is the perfect balance of innovation and industry expertise to deliver a paradigm-defining solution that protects money, time and the environment to make healthier, more sustainable food for everyone.”
“We have known for some time there were better ways to allocate the time and resources for our clients around pesticide use, particularly with weed control,” said Terry Aberhart, CEO of Sure Growth Solutions Inc. “This combination of technologies will allow us to do this in a way that makes sense without sacrificing yield or quality, and having it built and tested locally will ensure its fit for our Canadian farmers. We are very excited to help change the way the world sprays and continue to support farmers help make the world a better place for future generations.”
“As global demand continues to grow for high-quality products, we are looking to help Canadian producers be influential on an international level,” Exceed Grain Marketing President Derek Squair said. “Food safety, maximum residue limits and sustainable practices are some of the top concerns for Canada’s markets. With cost savings to our farmers, the technology we’re developing is addressing those concerns, benefiting the world for future generations.”
“At GIFS, we recognize the value of collaboration, so we work with partners to discover, develop and deliver innovative solutions for the production of globally sustainable food,” GIFS CEO Steve Webb said. “By joining forces with PIC, Precision.ai, Sure Growth Solutions and Exceed Grain Marketing on this exciting project, we are developing innovative technologies to precisely target crop inputs when and where needed, making production agriculture more efficient and more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.”
This is Protein Industries Canada’s ninth project announcement. Together with industry, the company has invested more than $163 million into the plant protein sector. They are currently accepting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for research and capacity building projects through their third open call.