Testing grain moisture and specific weight in the field may be a doddle, but working out protein content traditionally involves a piece of equipment the size of a washing machine and a man with a white coat to operate it.
But Cheshire company Calbre Control is now bringing in the 7kg Swedish-designed Perten IM8800 portable Inframatic grain grader, which lets you do just that anywhere on your farm.
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Out in the field, you pop in a 100g sample of milling wheat or malting barley (there’s no need to grind). The machine shines a near-infrared (NIR) beam through it and 90 seconds later it tells you protein levels in wheat, nitrogen levels in malting barley and oil content in oilseed rape.
Doing a test every 200 or so square metres is ideal, says the company, and an ultra-accurate moisture meter is incorporated too.
It also has a GPS sensor on board, so it will tell you exactly where in the field each sample came from.
In fact, it will also draw a map showing areas of high and low proteins so you know which is your best grain long before the merchant tells you.
The cost of the IM8800 is £8,500 so it’s obviously aimed at biggish farmers.