State-of-the-art ag lab opens in Sask.

The Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan has opened a new facility that combines the digital data analysis of microbial, plant and animal genes and traits, with the latest precision agriculture technologies.

The Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory (OPAL), is the first of its kind in Canada.

OPAL is designed to speed up innovation of new products and services to increase profitability and sustainability for agriculture and food sector enterprises.

It is the only lab in the country to provide analytical and computational services, which includes genomics, phenomics and bioinformatics.

OPAL combines these with the use of the latest imaging and agricultural technologies, such as global positioning systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial imaging of plants and in-field environmental monitoring.

As a result, customers are provided with a diagnostic profile of samples tailored to their needs, as well as consulting on technical details and costings for project planning.

OPAL was also created to address big issue challenges, such as climate change and limited water and nutrient resources.

Using OPAL’s precision agriculture technologies, farmers will be able to target plants with the precise amount of water, fertilizers and crop protection products needed.

Greater resource efficiency will also accelerate breeding for crops and animals, lower environmental impact, higher quality crop yield and less waste.

OPAL’s ability to analyze virtually all genetic material on large scales was adapted to support the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s diagnostic testing for COVID-19, which involved genetic testing and sequencing, virus detection, protein analysis, and gene expression.


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