Protein Industries Canada (PIC) has announced the development of new technology that specifically targets pests when spraying fields.

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

The $26.2 million project is being led by 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.

Once the technology is fully developed, 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.

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.