A grand opening for the University of Saskatchewan’s new Canadian Feed Research Centre in North Battleford was held on Friday.
The $13.9 million facility is home to research looking at developing high-value animal feeds from lower-value crops and co-products coming from the biofuel industry. U of S has refurbished the property after purchasing it from Stomp Pork Farms for $3.3 million in 2009. When not being used for research, part of the feed mill is also serving a commercial purpose through a partnership with Cargill.
“Thanks to our partners in government and industry, this national feed research centre is one of the most advanced and diverse in the world — the only one with both pilot-scale and high-volume commercial processing production lines,” explained Karen Chad, U of S vice-president research. “This means that promising lab discoveries can move quickly from pilot-plant testing to industrial-scale research—a major advantage in attracting commercialization activities and engaging industry.”
The centre is the first in North America to install new seed-sorting technology, which will be used to maximize the value of inputs, and the quality and safety of feed products.
“Feed accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the production costs of animal protein such as meat, milk and eggs,” said Tom Scott, U of S Research Chair in Feed Processing Technology. “The centre will research the use of processing to improve conversion of low-quality and highly variable ingredients, such as feed grain or co-products of bioprocessing, resulting in safe, high-quality animal feed and providing value to both producers and consumers.”
The funding for the centre is coming from a number of sources; the Saskatchewan government is contributing $5 million, with $4.88 million from the CFI, $2.46 million coming from Cargill, $911,544 contributed by Western Economic Diversification (including the seed sorter), and $600,000 coming from U of S and its suppliers.
While the U of S owns and operates the CFRC, Cargill has a license to use the commercial-scale part of the facility outside of normal operating hours and when U of S is not using it for research.