Sustainable bioproducts

Agricultural products have been used for millenia for non-food purposes, including solid fuel, fibres, lighting, medicines, dyes, bedding and furniture products, clothing, inks and paper and cosmetics. More recently, more technologically sophisticated applications have emerged including plastics and advanced industrial materials, liquid fuels and .....

Bioproducts from waste discussed under Goal 5 Reducing waste.

There is debate about what a sustainable bioeconomy and its products should achieve, but it must certainly be more than technology and supply side driven (cf. Wilke, U., Schlaile, M.P., Urmetzer, S. et al. Time to Say ‘Good Buy’ to the Passive Consumer? A Conceptual Review of the Consumer in the Bioeconomy. J Agric Environ Ethics 34, 20 (2021); Levidow, L., Birch, K., & Papaioannou, T. (2013). Divergent paradigms of European agro-food innovation. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 38, 94–125). As such, consistent with the conceptual frameworks of this site, it should fit within a demand-supply coordination framework (see Goal 2) and contribute to the achievement of sustainable, health and equity.  As such, it must not compromise objectives regarding food, water and biodiversity.

Cereal straw - first for soil cover and integration, next for bedding and compost, then for industrial purposes.  Much depends on the region, the varieties grown and how much straw is produced. Crop-livestock integration is a critical question. An Alberta agronomist, Ieuan Evans, estimates you need $12000 in compensation for a 60 bu wheat crop because of the all the nutrients in the straw (1.5-2 tonnes / ac). Increasing organic matter 1% will add 4 bu canola and 5 bu wheat in a dry year. 16 reasons why never to sell straw (Briere, K. 2021. Straw: hang on to it or sell it? WP  June 24, p. 1)

Hemp - legalized again in 1998 after years of being banned because of connections to cannabis. Can be used for food, oil, clothing, medicinal purposes (CBD), cosmetics, livestock feed, cat litter and animal bedding, and fibres.  Good rotational crop, doesn't require alot of nutrients, helps break pest cycles.  About 1000 farmers and 55,000 acres on the Prairies (way below industry expectations) but requires a license from Health Canada. HC also has to approve cultivars. Peaked at 140,000 acres across Canada in 2017, in part because of exports to South Korea which suddenly collapsed in the face of ramped up Chinese production. Prairies grow 90% of acres. Exports of hemp to the US are difficult because of a hodge podge of state rules on transport. Shortage of processing facilities (Arnason, R. 2021. Hemp's full potentisl yet to be realized. WP Aug. 12, p.1).  Hemp now 75000 ha but has declined from 100,000 in 2017 in Western Canada.  Regulatory structures, lack of genetic improvement are limitations.  Hemp as carbon sink if stalks used in some industrial applications?  Hemp better than trees at capturing carbon?

Wool prices have significantly decreased globally, in part related to the rise synthetics.  This has consequences for many sheep producers who may no longer generate dual stream revenue from both meat and wool. Canada has about 9400 sheep producers and the main marketer of Canadian wool is the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers.  Canadian price declines are 50% over last 3 years.  Canada is a minor player but exports to China, the US and the Czech Republic.  Canadian wool is not fine.  Focus has shifted to meat because costs of shearing can't be covered with sales. Lots of wool being discarded.  But should be done once / year for animal health.  Canadian wool contains more debris, requires cleaning, but few cleaning and carding plants for doing that. Better suited to rugs and overcoats. Only 3 wool mills left in Canada, used to be about 300 in the 1800s. Could shift with the slow rise in demand for eco-friendly products and new applications such as insulation, oil spill cleanup, fire proofing, face masks, fertilizer pellets, bee hive covers, mattresses. Creating a wool mark?  Waldie, P.  2021. An age-old fabric faces a reckoning. G&M Sept. 28 B2. Federal government investing in wool mills, market research, export and domestic promotion.  Carpets, clothing, insulation, upholstery, slow release fertilizers, meal kit insulation, finer wools have rebounded post pandemic but coarse has not, major price declines. Galea, I. 2022.  Ottawa invest to advance wool industry.  Globe and Mail FEb. 24, B2. “Less than 150 years ago, we had the ability domestically to process the majority of all clothing and textiles we consumed,” writes Anna Hunter in her book Sheep, Shepherd & Land: Stories of Sheep Farmers Reinvigorating Canadian Wool. Now? "There are three larger mills processing exclusively Canadian wool – Custom Woolen Mills in Alberta, Briggs & Little in New Brunswick and MacAusland’s on PEI – plus 40-odd small and medium mills, most of which are “mini mills” with very limited capabilities.'''' What’s lacking in Canada right now are facilities that can handle the 1,500-plus pounds of raw wool Topsy or other farms might send them and take it from washing to spinning and knitting or weaving, right under one roof and within reasonable time frames" Kat Tancock 2023. Inside the movement for Canadian wool. globe and mail Oct. 28.

Clean Fuel Standard and biodiesel, from 2% to 11% by 2030. No further standards and certification because Canadian farmers aren't increasing land use to meet biofuel needs?  Looks like alot will be met by soy oil and canola oil rather than inedible tallow, yellow grease and corn distiller's grain (World agriecultural economic and environmental services).  Implementation Dec. 2022.

Ethanol demand down due to COVID