Alberta company buys infrared grain sorter

An Alberta seed cleaning company has placed an order for a high-tech grain sorter that has the ability to clean fusarium-damaged kernels out of bulk grain shipments.

Spectrum Grain Solutions of Bashaw, Alta., plans to use a Swedish-built Bo-Mill TriQ grain sorter to add value to grain that’s been degraded due to fusarium, ergot or other factors.

The TriQ can be used to sort durum, spring wheat, malting barley, spelt and oats.

According to the Swedish manufacturer, the machine can sort grain based on fusarium, protein, vitreousness, seed quality and falling number at a speed of 25,000 kernels per second.

That’s equivalent to roughly three tonnes an hour.

“The market demand for single kernel sorting increases every day, and the market understands the business opportunities and benefits with our solution,” said BoMill marketing director Per Söderström.

“We see Canada as a very important market.”

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BoMill products are distributed in Canada by Flaman Grain Cleaning, a division of the Flaman Group of Companies based in Saskatoon.

Mitch Flaman, operations manager with Flaman, said the investment by Spectrum represents an important breakthrough for BoMill into the Canadian market.

BoMill sorts grain by looking at the chemical structure and composition of each individual kernel.

“Often we can remove dockage and disease by focusing on what we can physically see on the outside,” Flaman said.

“The high vomitoxin levels caused from the recent fusarium crisis on the Prairies has forced us to look deeper into what each individual kernel is actually made up of on the inside.”

BoMill’s TriQ sorter made its debut in Saskatchewan three years ago when the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Feed Research Centre installed a unit at its facilities in North Battleford, Sask.

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Preliminary testing at the time suggested the machine might be a worthwhile investment for seed cleaning companies and perhaps even individual farmers, particularly in years when fusarium damaged grain is abundant.

In theory, the machine could add more than $200 per tonne to salvage grade wheat or durum.

The Canadian International Grains Institute also had plans to test the TriQ sorter and assess its commercial applicability.

CIGI confirmed its intention two years ago to buy a BoMill TriQ and a smaller version of the same machine.

CIGI officials said a TriQ sorter was acquired.

It is currently on loan to Standard Nutrition, a feed company with faculties based in Winnipeg.

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Officials with Spectrum could not be reached for comment.