A new $19 million project by Protein Industries Canada and a consortium of companies will help Canadian farmers further improve their substantiality and reduce carbon emissions through the commercialization of a new micronutrient fertilizer.
Soileos is a sustainable, non-polluting, climate positive micronutrient fertilizer created from the upcycling of pea, lentil, and oat hulls - co-products from food processing. The use of Soileos increases crop yields and improves the health of soil, while also increasing revenues to both farmers and food processors.
AGT Food and Ingredients Inc., Lucent BioSciences, NuWave Research, IN10T and Aberhart Ag Solutions are collaborating to scale and distribute this new product. The project includes the installation of a new manufacturing process for the production of Soileos in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, that, when completed, will produce up to approximately 6,500 tons per year of micronutrient fertilizer and create 25 jobs.
“Fertilizer is crucial for the productivity of the Canadian agriculture sector. With the current disruptions caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Government of Canada is seeking to support cost effective and sustainable fertilizer alternatives to help secure food supply chains. By investing in the commercialization of a new micronutrient fertilizer, we are helping farmers maintain their production to feed Canadians and the world, while reducing their environmental footprint,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
This new 50-50 join venture between AGT Foods and Lucent, which operates as AGT Soileos, will also lead to improved efficiency of the fertilizer, particularly a shortening of the reaction time required in manufacturing to bind the plant-based fibres to the micronutrients from hours to minutes, reducing energy and water usage, and an expansion of its availability across Western Canada.
“This project is an example of what happens when innovation and collaboration collide,” said CEO of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel. “From a chance meeting in 2019, to a pilot project that produced 1 kg of Soileos a day and tested the effectiveness of pea, lentil and oat hulls through 2020 and 2021 and now to full-scale commercialization, this project proves how important innovation is to the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of Canada’s agri-food sector, and the commitment of the industry to sustainability and the environment.”
Initial field trials of Soileos on broad-acre crops such as durum, lentils and peas demonstrated how Soileos transports zinc, manganese, and iron to plants – leading to improved protein content, yields and soil health, while increasing returns for farmers, minimizing environmental impacts, and bringing value to low-value by-products.
“AGT Foods is pleased to join with our partners at Lucent to announce the commercial production of Soileos. AGT is a value-added miller of pulse crops and other grains that produces fibre by-products. To use these by-products to produce a micronutrient pellet that assists farmers in boosting their yield while at the same time returning carbon to their soil and reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizer application in the future years is ground-breaking innovation,” said Murad Al-Katib, founder, and CEO of AGT Foods.
Over the past three years, Protein Industries Canada and industry partners have invested more than $480 million into growing Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredient sector.