WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Standard Nutrition Canada Co. will receive C$1.1 million from the government of Canada to install two new infrared grain sorters at its feed mill in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The company will be one of the only in the country using infrared grain sorting technology. This equipment removes grains infected with fusarium head blight or ergot from crops before they are made into animal feed. This increases the overall grade and quality of grains, which allows sales into higher-value markets. It is expected to increase the value of Manitoba grains by C$4 million annually.

Standard Nutrition will be investing an additional C$1.1 million in the project. The company currently has more than 90 full-time employees and expects to hire up to eight more as a result of the new equipment.

"The sourcing of clean high quality grain has become a major issue in our region. In many cases these grains are shipped to markets over long distances, which also decreases the margin potential for our growers,” said Jason McNaughton, president and general manager of Standard Nutrition. “This investment by our company and governments is a key step in reclaiming the value of local crops while maintaining the integrity of the food we produce."

In 2014, Manitoba wheat farmers lost an estimated C$400 million in revenue due to fusarium damage, a disease that also affects barley and corn. The ergot fungus can become a major problem with wet growing conditions. The toxins it produces cannot be removed during processing and are dangerous for animals and humans if consumed. Currently, grains infected with these diseases either sell at a greatly reduced price or, in extreme cases, end up in landfills. This investment in a more efficient sorting and cleaning process made possible with this infrared technology will reduce grain waste by 24,000 tonnes every year in Manitoba.

The ministers noted this investment is part of the Grain Innovation Hub, which was announced by the Canada and Manitoba governments in May 2014. Its goal is to leverage C$33 million in government and industry funding to re-establish Manitoba as a leader in grain research, production and processing.