Robot generates images to prepare the soil for the future of agriculture

Researchers from the University of Winnipeg (UWinnipeg) and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have taken on an ambitious challenge: build the ground for the next revolution in global farming and food production. With support from George Weston Limited and Mitacs, the team is filling a gap within the digital agriculture field by building a robotic system to create an open dataset of Canadian prairie crop plants and weeds.

Integration of Electromagnetics in Potash Mining Geohazard Analysis

Potash is a mineral that is mined for use as fertilizer in agriculture. Potash accounted for $6.4 billion in exports from Saskatchewan in 2018 and potash mining represents a large fraction of the economy of Saskatchewan. When mining potash, it is important to avoid mining into areas near water-filled porous rocks since this can cause flooding. As a result, the ability to detect water-bearing regions at a distance, using geophysical techniques, would be highly desirable.

Diversity and Abundance of Beneficial and Pest Insects in Canadian Prairie Agroecosystems - Year two

The proposed research project will assess the insect fauna present associated with prairie wetlands, as well as those found in adjacent fields of crop plants (canola, barley, wheat) and restored grasslands. Insects will be collected using various trapping methods to sample taxa exhibiting different lifestyles. Collected specimens will be identified as specifically as possible to determine taxa found in sampled habitats.

Development of a breeding database for the application of omics technologies in canola variety development

Next generation plant breeding requires bringing together many different types and sources of information about different plant varieties, including their genetic information together with how well they grow in different environments. The best ways to organize and integrate these sources of information within a plant breeding program is not well known. In this project, we will work with Nutrien Ag Solutions to devise and evaluate a breeding database and associated software tools to assist and accelerate their double haploid breeding program in canola.

A rational data-driven probabilistic approach for assessing the condition and performance of RC structures

A variety of alternative strategies have been developed for increasing the service life of reinforced concrete structures exposed to corrosive environments. An optimum design or repair strategy requires not only an estimate of upfront costs, but also the means to compare all associated costs against the potential extension to the life of the structure. Unfortunately, however, current asset management practice, which is typically based on tacit or implicit methods for asset condition assessment, performance prediction and management is no longer enough.

Community Energy Profiles and the CASES Toolkit

The Community Energy Profiles and the CASES Toolkit project is part of a larger partnership involving 15 communities and 16+ private and public sector partner organizations in 4 countries. Co-led by Drs. Greg Poelzer and Bram Noble, the project includes 7 interns with interest in the areas of energy policy, impact assessment, economics, energy systems modeling, social innovation, and capacity building with Indigenous communities, industries, and governments. The benefits of the internships to our Canadian partner organizations are multiple and extend beyond the internships.

Canadian Zeolites for Integrated Desalination, Nutrient Recovery and Bioremediation

Natural Canadian zeolite is an attractive mineral for the restoration of lands disturbed by the extraction of natural resources such as metals, oil and gas. Dr. Wonjae Chang’s Environmental Engineering Lab developed a dualmineral prototype, using Canadian zeolites, for the desalination of potash brine-impacted water. Dr. Chang also demonstrated the significant accumulation of residual potassium in the mineral adsorbents following multiple desalination cycles for potash brine-impacted water. In collaboration with ZMM® Canada Minerals Crop.

Oilseed with Depleted Glycosides

Flax seed is of interest as a health food product with high omega-3 fatty acid, protein and fiber content. The seeds naturally contain compound that are anti-nutritive and have a bitter flavor. We have developed a process to safely and cheaply remove these compounds from whole flax seed. We intend to investigate the nutritive qualities, flavor, and shelf life of this flax seed and to scale up the process for commercial use. We will develop recipes for the seed and process co-products.

Concrete Masonry Unit Geometry for Improved Structural Efficiency, Sustainability, and Constructability

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario reports that the masonry rate group cost per insurance claim is 2.44 times that if all other construction class rate groups. Manual lifting of concrete masonry units is required for masonry construction, and the pay masons receive is often commensurate with the number of units laid per day. Researchers have shown that, when lifting concrete masonry units, lower back compression forces in masons exceed the specific safe action limit despite the fact that the manual lifting load cutoff is not exceeded.

Improving Craft Brewing through Optimization of Yeast Function

Beer has been brewed since the dawn of civilization and is composed of only 4 simple ingredients: hops, water, toasted barley (called malt) and yeast. Yeast are the factories that convert chemicals in the starting materials to ethanol and flavors. Not all yeast are the same; over the millennia selection of specific yeast strains for specific brewing purposes has force the yeast to ‘evolve’ changing their genetic composition. For example, yeast used to make ales have a different genetic composition to those used to make lagers.

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