AI Project to Address Lentil Growing Challenges Announced

Dec 12, 2023

A consortium of partners from Canada’s agriculture and agrifood sectors will develop artificial intelligence technology to address some of the biggest issues faced by Canadian lentil growers, a Dec. 6 news release said. With support from Protein Industries Canada (PIC), Ukko Agro, Hawk’s Agro and Three Farmers will work together to build out an in-field platform to predict and control anthracnose and Ascochyta blight.

“Consistency of crop and ingredient quality is a key element of strengthening Canada’s domestic food supply chain. Collaboration across the ecosystem is the best way to establish and maintain this consistency in a sustainable manner,” Bill Greuel, PIC CEO, said in the release. “Together, our project partners are meeting this need, while also addressing major disease concerns for some of Canada’s most widely grown high protein crops. And with the technology’s potential to be expanded to other plant-protein crops in the future, this is a clear demonstration of how one successful cluster project can benefit the full value chain and ecosystem.”

The release noted by utilizing AI to address the main diseases of concern in lentil crops, the project will help farmers and agronomists make improved crop management decisions. The project will utilize and build on Ukko Agro’s ForeSite platform to develop and commercialize their AI technology. Once available to farmers, agronomists and retailers, the technology will help improve the sustainability of the sector, increase yields and strengthen the ingredient supply chain.

“We are extremely excited to be a part of this consortium with Hawks Agro, Three Farmers and Protein Industries Canada. Our goal at Ukko Agro is to combine data science with plant science that helps value-chain partners and farmers make more data-informed decisions on application of crop inputs,” Ketan Kaushish, Ukko Agro founder said in the release. “Once commercialized, this project will enable value-chain members to proactively engage with their growers in order to help them grow a better crop, a key to maintaining the Prairies’ leadership position in the pulses market.”

A total of $2.6 million has been committed to the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing $1.2 million and the partners together investing the remainder, the release said.

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