Partners investing in new technology featuring AI to detect herbicide-resistant weeds

Benefits will ripple through value chain through controlled use of effective herbicides

Regina, SK, May 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Protein Industries Canada announced a new project focused on addressing the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds in Canada, particularly those affecting protein-rich crops. Through a partnership between Precision AI, Geco Strategic Weed Management, the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan and Sure Growth Solutions, the project will see the development of an AI-powered early detection system that will help farmers and agronomists identify and treat herbicide-resistant weeds.

“Building on the successes of their first Global Innovation Clusters–funded project, Precision AI and its project partners will be leveraging AI to spur innovation and drive economic growth by assisting farmers in detecting and managing herbicide-resistant weeds,” stated the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, Protein Industries Canada is supporting the continued growth of the sector and cementing Canada’s standing as a premier supplier of high-quality crops and ingredients.”

“Our farmers are always looking for new ways to make their operations more resilient, so they can keep producing top-quality food for Canadians to enjoy. This innovative AI-powered system will help treat herbicide-resistant weeds more effectively, helping farmers improve the quality of protein-rich crops and enhancing the whole value chain,” said The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The partners will build off of technology developed in a project led by Precision AI under Protein Industries Canada’s first round of funding. They’ll add to it a new software application that utilizes drone and satellite imagery to examine each weed in the field with plant-level precision, leveraging advanced AI techniques to deliver timely alerts to farmers about potential resistance issues.

“Strong primary agriculture is the foundation of Canada’s agrifood sector, so it’s important that farmers have the tools they need to continue to grow the crops that will become the protein ingredients of the future," Protein Industries Canada CEO Bill Greuel said. “Investments into AI technology are helping develop and commercialize such tools, creating benefits that ripple through the plant protein ecosystem and out to Canadian families.”

The development and adoption of AI technology can help farmers and agronomists address herbicide-resistant weeds more sustainably and more effectively. By identifying and targeting specific weeds using prescribed herbicides, farmers can reduce their crop inputs and field passes, while increasing yields and improving crop quality. The benefits of the new technology are expected to affect the full value chain, improving the ingredient supply chain and leading to a more consistent, high-quality supply of products for ingredient processors and food manufacturers.

“By using AI to detect resistance early and provide precision herbicide application, we have a realistic path to reducing or even eliminating resistant strains in Canada. We look forward to our collaboration with Protein Industries Canada, Geco Strategic Weed Management, Global Institute for Food Security and Sure Growth Solutions in the essential work of helping conquer herbicide-resistant weeds, which are a growing threat to Canadian producers,” Founder and CEO of Precision AI Dan McCann said.

“A weed population evolves over years and disrupts crop yields over hundreds of acres. Geco is working with a range of weed detection technologies to provide our 50-plus farms with predictive weed control and resistance detection. We are looking forward to quantifying the value to the farm that will be achieved at plant-level resolution,” Geco Founder and CEO Greg Stewart said.

“The Global Institute for Food Security is pleased to collaborate on this important project to advance innovation for the more precise treatment of herbicide-resistant weeds,” said Steven Webb (PhD), Chief Executive Officer of GIFS. “Working together using essential analytical tools and AI models, we will help make crop protection more efficient and provide economic benefits to farmers, leading to more sustainable production of safe and nutritious food.”

“By empowering businesses to thrive through strategic guidance, AI technology can unleash hidden opportunities to grow agriculture forward. We’re proud to be working with our project partners to help create and commercialize the technology that can help Canadian farmers move their own agriculture work forward, while managing the weeds that are of most concern in their fields,” said Sure Growth Solutions Founder Terry Aberhart.

A total of $6.2 million has been committed to the project, with Protein Industries Canada investing $2.8 million and the partners investing the remainder. Protein Industries Canada’s artificial intelligence stream is funded as part of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, through which the Government of Canada is investing in efforts to drive the adoption of artificial intelligence across Canada's economy and society.

Protein Industries Canada is one of Canada’s five Global Innovation Clusters. Protein Industries Canada and our members are working to embrace the $25 billion opportunity presented by Canada’s ingredient manufacturing, food processing and bio-product sector. Projects such as these add value to, and create new markets for, Canadian crops, generating local jobs and supporting new economic development in locations across Canada. More information can be found at




About Precision AI

Precision AI is on a mission to accelerate artificial intelligence-based farming practices to create healthier, happier, and more profitable farms. By leveraging custom-built AI technology in drones, Precision AI takes crop production decisions from a whole field to an individual plant level. Transforming the industry's dependence on bulkier technology for decades, the outcome of these solutions helps craft the machines of tomorrow that will feed the world.

With headquarters in North America, Precision AI is scaling rapidly with an elite team dedicated to solving the agricultural challenges of farms around the world.


About Geco Strategic Weed Management

Geco leverages all available data on and above farm fields into agronomic models to nip weed problems in the bud. They with North American farms on their most challenging weed issues. Learn more at


About the Global Institute for Food Security

The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) works with partners to discover, develop and deliver innovative solutions for the production of globally sustainable food. Founded by Nutrien, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan (USask), GIFS is agriculture’s innovation catalyst, connecting the agri-food ecosystem, advancing innovation and bridging the gap to commercialization to deliver resilient and sustainable food security for all stakeholders.

Learn more about GIFS at


About Sure Growth Solutions

Sure Growth is a trusted business consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations achieve their full potential. With a focus on strategic insights, operational excellence and customized solutions, they partner with businesses across industries to drive sustainable growth and profitability.

Their team of seasoned consultants brings extensive experience and industry expertise to every engagement. They collaborate closely with clients to understand their unique challenges and goals, developing tailored strategies that deliver measurable results.

Sure Growth offers a comprehensive suite of services of 10-step proven processes. Where they streamline operations, expand market reach or enhance profitability, their proven methodologies and practical solutions can empower the business to thrive in today's competitive landscape.