A real and unbiased measurement of grain quality in the field when harvesting

28.07.2019
Using Device Field

Farmers generally farm for 40 harvests, 40 chances to “get it right” so to speak. The farmer's decision of when to harvest is important as it can impact the overall success of the harvest. Choosing the right time is essential. Depending on the country and the crops, there are different challenges in deciding on the perfect harvest time and how to proceed, one of them is linked to evaluating the maturity and quality of each field.  

One of the most common methods to assess maturity in wheat and barley is the visual field rating of relative maturity. This method, although facile and rapid, lacks reliability and accuracy. With the GrainSense device, it is easy to check the moisture content of the crops whether you’re estimating the right time to harvest or you want to know if the crops are dry enough for preserving.

Knowing the true moisture content at the harvest allows triggering the harvest at the perfect time for each crop and each field. It is usually advised to harvest cereals when the moisture content is under 15%. This can vary depending on the country, the crop, the weather conditions and drying/storage methods. In fact, if there is excess moisture in the crops there is also a smaller percentage of protein in it. This can make a difference in the price. High moisture content makes it harder to store the crops, as it provides a good environment for mold and bacteria to grow. The GrainSense device uses near-infrared with a patented method which enables more accurate moisture analysis than average conductivity-based moisture meters. 

The GrainSense device also measures the protein content of grains so one can make better income predictions and better profit. That is, because the better quality crops can be stored in different silos than the rest. The grain farmer can sell the different quality crops separately instead of selling everything together with a bulk price.  

The actual protein content of the grains is of paramount when harvesting high-value crops like malting barley, where the protein must be between 9 to 12%. Animal farmers can also make better feeding plans based on the actual protein content of the grain fodder.  When stored for a short or longer time, physical and management factors, such as compaction and sealing, greatly influence the outcome of crop or forage conservation. Every time a new silo is opened, the quality of the crop should be automatically checked.  

In a nutshell, It doesn’t matter if you grow animals or if you’re selling your crops for various use. Knowing the moisture and protein content of your crops is still important. Traditionally, many farmers have used “gut feeling” or their experience-eye to make decisions. Now there is GrainSense to support the farmers and make sure best decisions are taken in order to get the best profit.