The University of Saskatchewan has purchased a North Battleford feed mill to develop a unique-in-Canada national research facility that will enhance animal nutrition and feeds research and benefit Canadian crop, livestock and feed processing industries.
The $12.6-million Canadian Feed Technology Research Facility will research, develop and commercialize new and better high-value animal feeds from low-value crops and from byproducts of biofuels production such as ethanol and biodiesel.
The crop, livestock and feed processing industries have indicated a strong need for this research.
Funding has been committed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the provincial government, and industry sources.
“This new research centre will benefit both animal and human health and help make the U of S an international leader in feeds processing research and commercialization,” said Karen Chad, U of S Acting Vice-President Research.
“It will advance undergraduate and graduate student training programs and also provide training opportunities for producers and feed processors. More than 25 researchers and 30 graduate students from many disciplines will use the facility.”
Renovations to transform the feed mill into a research facility are expected to begin in July. The research operation will begin in late summer or early fall of 2010.
To generate revenue for facility maintenance and research, a part of the industrial capability has been licensed to Cargill, a global leader in animal nutrition and feeds, for commercial feed processing and toll feed processing services.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Cargill, a company whose recognized expertise, market presence, and understanding of global markets will help attract global clients to the facility and to Saskatchewan,” said Chad, noting the facility will serve a broad range of industries and involve regional, national, and international partnerships.
Project leader Bernard Laarveld said the feed mill provides an excellent research base for the U of S because there’s significant space to accommodate the full range of activity—from laboratory to pilot plant to industrial-scale research—a major advantage in generating value for industry. The U of S will offer contract research opportunities to the private sector.
“Researchers are extremely keen to use this centre as it will advance research in many areas that include crop breeding for feed quality traits, reduced antibiotic use, better livestock nutrition, improved animal health and product safety, feed delivery of vaccines for disease control, environmental protection, and higher-value commodity crops,” Laarveld said, noting that new feeds produced at the mill will be used for animal feeding research at the U of S and elsewhere.
He noted the new centre will enhance and support the U of S feeds research cluster that includes the Crop Development Centre, the Feeds Innovation Institute, the Prairie Swine Centre, the Poultry Centre, the Beef Research Station, the new Dairy Innovation Centre, the Prairie Aquaculture Research Centre, and the Canadian Light Source synchrotron which can be used to relate structural characteristics of feeds to nutritional quality.