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Monitor Quality As You Harvest
Get real-time levels of protein, oil-fat, moisture, and more in grains as they’re harvested from the field with Grain-Q. The easy-to-retrofit sensor system fits on the combine grain auger as grains move to the hopper. The near-infrared (NIR) sensor gathers the geo-referenced data and sends it to the in-cab monitor for immediate and post-harvest use.
  “Grain-Q can be installed in any kind of grain elevation system, from the combine to the dryer or other augers,” says Gustavo Caneda, TecnoCientifica.
  The Grain-Q sensor scans a column of grain diverted momentarily from the flow of grain to the hopper. As the grain returns to the flow, the NIR images move via fiber optics to the separately mounted spectrometer. From there, data is transmitted to the touch screen computer in the cab.
  The screen image is updated every 20 seconds (depending on the speed of the combine) and geo-referenced for real-time mapping. It’s also collected for post-harvest analysis and comparison with other field maps.
  Mounted on a combine, Grain-Q makes it possible for the operator to identify and harvest areas with uniform grain qualities, such as certain oil levels in soybeans, protein in wheat, or starch in corn.
  “The system is easy to install, and we provide everything that is needed: the sensor and cables, fiber optics, controller, monitor screen, and data transmission,” says Caneda. “We offer an industrial touch panel PC for use in the cab, but we can open the software platform to integrate with other vendor monitors or managing systems.”
  The computer delivers two sets of data to the operator. One is from the grain flowing past the sensor. The second is a rolling average of the grain that has passed by the sensor.
  “You can reset the average any time you want, such as every time a grain cart has filled,” says Caneda. “The data for a particular cart load or trailer load can be transmitted from the field in a number of ways. The data packet can be sent to the semi driver, bin site, farm office, or to the grain buyer.”
  Trucks and semis loaded with known quality grain can then be segregated at the farm storage site or delivered to a commercial elevator.
  Developed initially in Argentina, Caneda is now working on establishing Grain-Q in the U.S. and Canada, with Europe to follow. He notes that an article in The Western Producer in February created interest in Canada, as well as the western U.S. and the Midwest.
  “We’re running pilot tests this year with our first units operating in North America,” says Caneda. “There has not been much attention paid to grain quality in the past, but that’s changing. The market is starting to look for quality.”
  Grain-Q is not new. Caneda has been working in precision grain monitoring for the past 30 years. An expert in chemistry, automation, and calibrations, he saw the potential for more refined grain monitoring. Initially, the company offered a benchtop NIR scanner. Years went into developing the concept for an in-field unit and then a prototype. Separating the sensor from the spectrometer was key to success in the heavy vibration and dust environment of a combine.
  Grain-Q has been in the field for the past 4 years. Time has been the biggest challenge, as calibration and validation have been limited to annual harvests.
  It was formally launched early this year for $26,000 with sales direct from the company. A distribution system for the U.S. and Canada is in development, and corporate offices are being opened in the U.S. soon.
  “When a customer acquires a system from us, they obtain 6 mos. of free assistance with calibration,” says Caneda. “We teach them how to sample their grains and save data for later use. They don’t need to send any data to us. They’re the owners of their own calibrations and data. We want them to be as independent as possible.”
  The company is introducing the basic scanning technology in a second system, the T-Scanner. It utilizes a similar sensor, developed for use on the end auto probes. It’s intended for use at grain elevators to sample truck and semi loads, as well as outgoing train carloads.
  “We launched the T-Scanner this year and are working with auto-probe manufacturers on integrating it with their probes,” says Caneda. “It also can be retrofitted to existing auto-probes, reducing labor and improving data collection. We’ve already sold some units and are getting an initial market evaluation.”
  Priced at $39,000, the T-Scanner can collect a full column of grain in 7 seconds. Using multiple samples, it can provide a visual map of grain quality across a load.
  “Instead of taking a single 300-gram sample, an elevator operator can scan a 30-ton truck and map the whole thing,” says Caneda. “The sensor scans the grain as it penetrates, providing the opportunity to divide the load by sections; bottom, middle and top.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, José Pascual Tamborini 3573, C1430ARE, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina. (ph 54 11 4543 2335; info@tecnocientifica.com; www.tecnocientifica.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6