Developers of a new wild rice harvester hope their prototype will make the wild rice harvest in northern Saskatchewan more sustainable.

A team from Saskatchewan Polytechnic held an official showcase this week of its new wild rice harvester prototype.

The boat has been in development for the past several years, in partnership with the NWC Wild Rice Company, and aims to provide more sustainability to the wild rice harvest.

The federal government provided $400,000 in funding toward the project’s development through PrairiesCan.

According to Sask Polytech the goal of the new boat is to create a new modular boat that is more economical and easily repairable.

“The design they have landed on will make it eaiser and more economical for operators to make their own repairs and ensure less downtime during critical harvesting periods,” said Larry Rosia, CEO of Sask Polytechnic.

The post-secondary institution says the improvement to the boat includes a custom designed and larger boat, a new propulsion system, new steering components, and a new durable engine.

(Sask Polytech showcases a prototype wild rice harvester boat in Saskatoon.  Video by Joel Willick.)

“We look forward to advancing this project to the next level and continue to focus on securing a brighter future for the wild rice harvesters of northern Saskatchewan,” said Celine Favreau, CEO of the NWC Wild Rice Company.

The prototype will begin field tests during the wild rice harvest this fall.