Harper Government Announces Support for New Seed Sorting Technology to Increase Crop Value

April 18, 2012

NORTH BATTLEFORD, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire -04/18/12)- Prairie grain producers will benefit from research conducted using revolutionary seed sorting technology imported by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) with an investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

With the help of WD's $328,000 contribution, the U of S's Canadian Feed Research Centre (CFRC) will be the first place in North America to install and evaluate the new technology which enables grading of individual kernels, (as opposed to whole batches of grain), thereby maximizing value, quality, and food safety.

"Our Government's first priority is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and we are confident this equipment will increase the value of cereal crops produced in Canada," said Member of Parliament for Battlefords-Lloydminster and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, "Using this technology to sort and grade each kernel will generate greater profits for our grain producers, creating jobs and lasting economic growth."

The BoMill TriQ seed sorter uses near infrared light to analyze individual seeds (i.e., wheat, barley or durum) for protein, starch or hardness, and then sorts them to meet requirements for food, malt or feed production. With a high-volume sorting capacity of three tonnes per hour, the technology is the first to be capable of sorting commercial volumes of grain.

Commercial adoption of the infrared technology could revolutionize how wheat, barley and durum are graded and ultimately increase the value of western Canadian grain by as much as $320 million per year.

U of S scientists and graduate students at the CFRC will investigate how to adapt the Swedish technology to western Canadian crops, conduct wide-ranging seed research not previously possible, and provide commercial processing firms with the knowledge to fully exploit the technology's capabilities.

"This investment provides a very important research tool that could advance food security in Canada and globally," said Karen Chad, U of S Vice-President Research. "We are excited to have the opportunity to evaluate this new technology and to work to expand its capacity to sort other seed types and determine other traits of economic value to agriculture."

Sorting kernels using this technology provides a non-destructive but accurate assessment of individual kernel quality factors that cannot be determined by other techniques.

Researchers will seek to modify the seed sorter to handle larger grains such as peas, beans, corn and flax which are also widely grown in Canada.

Western Economic Diversification Canada in partnership with the provinces, industry associations, and communities promotes the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision-making.



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