Saturday, July 22, 2017

Frost-protection foam wins prize

The team that developed “Frost Armour” spray-on foam to protect crops from frost has won a $25,000 innovation prize in Kitchener.

Erin Laidley, co-founder of Protein Technologies”, said the start-up company is looking for partners to participate in trials.

So far they have a deal with the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association.

The spray is a non-toxic, protein-based product that is sprayed on when there’s danger of frost, then when it warms up, they spray it again so it dissolves into fertilizer.

This is not a new idea. Dr. David Siminovitch, a researcher with the federal agriculture department, developed a spray-on foam in 1972 that effectively protected strawberries from frost.

It was also protein based and it dissolved without requiring a second spraying.

It was never a commercial success because farmers preferred to accept the risk of frost damage rather than investing time and money to spray their fields.

I know about Dr. Siminovitch's research because I was a science writer for the federal agriculture department at the time, and wrote an article about his foam frost protection.