Feeding cattle with flies: Quebecers win a prize in Mexico

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Feeding flies to cattle: Quebecers win prize in Mexico

The Inscott company raises black soldier fly larvae to eat farm waste as carcasses.

Two Laval University students and a biologist have won an award in Mexico for a circular economy project that uses black soldier fly larvae to dispose of waste and make animal feed.

In the presence of the Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbault, students from the Department of Animal Sciences at Laval University, Mariève Dallaire-Lamontagne and Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, and biologist Jérémie Lavoie won the Challenge Youth Innovation of 2022 from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation [trilateral group with the United States and Mexico] for the Inscott company project.

Essentially, Inscott raises black soldier fly larvae to eat farmyard waste like carcasses, a type of waste that is complicated to dispose of and requires a lot of energy.

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The larvae, an excellent source of protein, are then used as food for animals which, when they die, will serve as food for the larvae, thus continuing the chain.

What we are proposing is to improve the way we manage our animal waste here in Quebec and Canada, by using the potential of edible insects. So we are talking about livestock residues such as carcasses, viscera, manure, eggs, explained Mariève Dallaire-Lamontagne to The Canadian Press, while she was in Mexico with her colleagues.

After being fed with this waste for two weeks, the fly larvae can be integrated into the diet of livestock such as chickens or pigs, but they can also be used to feed domestic animals such as dogs or cats. /p>

The master's student in animal science pointed out that food made from flies is much more environmentally friendly than conventional sources of protein, such as soya or fish meal, for example, which are associated with ecological issues.

The agricultural sector generates huge amounts of uneaten protein consisting of brain, spine, intestines, bones, etc.

The process process by which these dead animal residues are treated is called rendering and allows the remains to be transformed into proteins incorporated into animal feed.

However, this process, as pointed out by Jean-Michel Allard-Prus, requires an enormous amount of energy to heat all the biomass, whereas the one proposed, added his colleague Mariève Dallaire-Lamontagne, uses the digestive system of the larvae and […] few resources, little space and little energy.

Joined by The Canadian Press in Mérida, Mexico, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault agreed with the award recipients.

The animal waste that we are tackling as part of this project is an issue, since we have to use large amounts of energy to burn these animal carcasses. So, to find an alternative solution that is based on the teachings of nature, it fits perfectly with the kinds of projects that we are trying to encourage here [at the meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation].< /p>

The 2022 Youth Innovation Challenge invited young North Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 to come up with innovative and concrete solutions to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and determine the intersection point between human health and the environment.

We have all seen the fragility of food supply chains during the crisis. pandemic, said biologist Jérémie Lavoie, specifying that the trio of Quebecers want to give back a little more control to the communities, then to the cities, to produce a quality protein, then to treat animal waste locally, then in an effective way.

The next step for them is to see if they can do this on a commercial basis, underlined Minister Guilbeault.

The 2022 Youth Innovation Challenge also rewarded a team of young American entrepreneurs Cains and a team of young Mexicans.

Each of the three winning teams will receive up to C$15,000 in business start-up funds, in addition to benefiting a one-year mentorship.

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