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Protein supercluster supports agricultural sustainability and traceability


March 4, 2020
By Top Crop Manager

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Whole seed utilization

Protein Industries Canada announced their fifth approved project this week, which will be the first to create new usages from the co-products of processing.

The project will see $3 million – $1.3 million from Protein Industries Canada and $1.7 million from the consortium – invested to create a novel approach to improving the value of fibrous co-products from the pulse processing industry by transforming them into an organic micronutrient fertilizer.

The consortium consists of Lucent BioSciences from Vancouver and AGT Foods and Ingredients from Regina. Lucent will use the hulls of pea and lentil seeds, which are a co-product from value-added processing completed by AGT Foods and Ingredients. Using their propriety process, Lucent will convert the hulls into Soileos: a novel carbon-neutral micronutrient fertilizer that uses organic fibre as a carrier to provide micronutrients to plants.

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The delivery of micronutrients increases yield and nutrient density in crops in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. This project takes what has historically been considered a waste stream from processing and adds further value, utilizing the entire seed.

“This supercluster project has the potential to not only make farming more eco-friendly but also improve the quality of food that farmers grow,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Environment and Climate Change, in a press release.

Improvements to on-farm logistics and food traceability

Last week, Protein Industries Canada, in partnership with another industry consortium, announced an investment of $ 9.25 million into a project that will help improve on-farm logistics and food traceability through an integrated data platform. This project will utilize data from the farm gate, through the entire supply chain, to make on-farm practices more efficient and increasing consumer traceability while reducing input costs and the overall environmental impact of the sector.

This consortium, consisting of Provision Analytics, Verge Technologies and Skymatics – all from Calgary – and Coutts Agro from Kindersley, Sask., will invest $4.6 million (half of the total project budget), with Protein Industries Canada’s investment making up the other half.

This project brings together the expertise of Coutts Agro, a large-scale farming operation, with technologies from Verge Technologies and Skymatics, which use digital mapping and optimization technologies to help farmers improve in-field operations by capturing information around input application, fuel use and more. Verge Technologies’ software results in fewer passes required to maintain a field, reducing fuel costs and mitigating a producer’s environmental impact. This dataset will be used by Provision Analytics to create linkages to support food traceability, transparency and key metrics associated with energy efficiency.

This will be the first project to attempt to correlate farm level practices through the value chain from production to processing. Historically, all notions of sustainability and traceability have been constrained to individual steps of the value chain. This project brings together the different touchpoints to support traceability and sustainability initiatives.