Farmers live in a complicated and ever-tightening society. They have to continuously make choices to ensure that the quality of their yields and the price of their goods go hand-in-hand. The quality of crops is often measured by its composition, such as protein content, and the price of crops depends on the quality of the batch in question. At the moment, farmers send seed samples to laboratories to be able to make cost-effective decisions during the process or to set a price for their crops. The challenge with this approach is that farmers have to wait for a week or more to get the results about the quality of their harvest. The need of the hour is a solution that can provide farmers with actionable insights into their yields within seconds and help them make better decisions that significantly improve their business productivity and profitability.
Enter Finland-based AgTech startup GrainSense’s first-of-its-kind, robust grain quality measurement equipment. The truly handheld, battery-powered, portable device uses near-infrared (NIR) absorbance spectroscopy to measure key parameters such as the protein, moisture, oil, and carbohydrate content of cereal grains and other crops and provide farmers with accurate information on the quality of their produce. Edvard Krogius, Co-Founder of GrainSense, says, “In just 30 seconds, seed producers, plant breeders and livestock farmers can quickly get insights into the field and their produce and prioritise the harvest of high-quality crops based on real-time data.”
For example, all the ears of crops such as wheat and corn in farmland seem similar. Yet, in the same field, depending on the plot, the quality of the grain can fluctuate.
For the first time, grain farmers can have access to accurate data about their produce, putting them at the same level with big industry players such as mills, which have sophisticated tools for analysing the grain they buy
With the help of the GrainSense device, even before the harvest, farmers can identify and segregate plots of low quality and those worth being enriched to generate better yield. A few sample kernels of the grain need to be loaded onto the tray in the spherical part of the device, which then scans for protein and other contents, and these results are saved instantly to a secured cloud database. The GPS coordinates of the samples are measured and stored in the cloud, as well. A farmer can access this cloud either via their laptop or mobile phone using the GrainSense app and determine the pricing of their harvest accordingly. “Hence, for the first time, grain farmers can have access to accurate data about their produce, putting them at the same level with big industry players such as mills, which have sophisticated tools for analysing the grain they buy,” informs Krogius.
Contrary to conventional grain analysers, which are complex and big, require large quantities of the sample, and are cost-intensive, the GrainSense device is five times smaller and up to ten times less expensive.
The unique device also helps livestock farmers assess the quality of the components in animal feed and enhance the protein intake. “Most animal farmers even out the protein content of the feed with soya-based intake, which is almost four times more expensive than grain-based,” mentions Krogius. By providing accurate protein content quality, GrainSense helps them adjust the feeding and optimise the nutrition of the grain, thereby minimising the additional cost.
With its continued commitment, GrainSense continues to script client success stories like these with each passing year. And, the company doesn’t plan to stop there. Recently, intending to bolster the capabilities of the GrainSense device to go beyond measuring the key parameters of wheat, barley, oat, rye, and rapeseed, the firm calibrated its device to measure the content of corn and soybean as well. On the anvil are plans to also expand the global footprint of the company to other parts of the U.S., Argentina, and Brazil.
"In just 30 seconds, seed producers, plant breeders and livestock farmers can quickly get insights into the field and their produce and prioritise the harvest of high-quality crops based on real-time data"
Finally, with GrainSense, farmers can realise the benefits of a much-needed grain quality measurement device, which makes the lives of farmers much easier and more profitable!