Canadian Manufacturing

Protein Industries Canada announces new A.I. spraying technology for farmers

A.I. technology will allow farmers to target crop pests

August 21, 2020  by CM Staff

A University of Saskatchewan drone captures crop images at the university’s plant research fields. Photo credit: Seungbum Steve Ryu (Protein Industries Canada)

REGINA, Sask. — On Aug. 20, Protein Industries Canada announced the development of new technology that targets pests when spraying fields.

The technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect weeds and other crop pests while passing over a field. This is estimated to reduce pesticide use by up to 95% 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.

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.

Advertisment

“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,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in a prepared statement. “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.”

Designed by Canadians for Canadian farmers, the technology is intended to address the needs of the Canadian agriculture landscape first and foremost.

“The effect this new technology will have on Canada’s plant-protein sector is tremendous,” Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said in a statement. “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.”

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 is Protein Industries Canada’s ninth project announcement. Together with industry, the company has invested more than $163 million into the plant protein sector.


Print this page

Related Stories