Segregating for grain quality on-farm using new technologies
5 March 2020
Agriculture Victoria researchers are developing new sensor technologies that will enable growers to segregate pulse grains on-farm.
This research, which is being carried out through Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Victorian Grains Innovation Partnership, could help farmers to capture higher prices by segregating grain based on quality before it leaves the farm.
Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist Dr Cassandra Walker, who is leading the project, said new imaging technologies are currently under development which can rapidly measure grain quality and will ultimately deliver significant benefits to growers.
“We are aiming to transfer these developments from within the lab to grain processing systems that can be used during harvest, allowing growers the option to segregate grain prior to delivery.”
In recent years there have been significant advances in technology which can measure the quality of cereals at harvest, such as grain moisture and protein.
Dr Walker said the project aimed to expand this concept by developing new systems that could measure quality traits of lentil, chickpea and field pea to enable growers to capture the maximum value for their pulse crops.
“We are particularly keen to take new laboratory-based segregation tools and demonstrate their value on-farm,” she said.
“To achieve this our grain quality and field scientists are working closely with the precision ag industry and growers to demonstrate the potential value at farm scale.”
The research is being undertaken in Horsham, at Agriculture Victoria’s Grains Innovation Park where new high through-put spectral imaging systems are being used to develop grain quality algorithms.
“This is world-class research and is highly specialised,” Dr Walker said.
“The program will test the ability of this technology to segregate grain for quality defects due to frost, heat, disease, and contaminants such as snails or foreign seed - but the real value will be tested on-farm.”
Ashley Wallace, a research agronomist working on the program, said the research was also investigating quality degradation of grain during storage.
“This will provide industry with the knowledge to limit loss of quality associated with the storage of pulses, maximising the value of the product at the time of sale,” he said.
GRDC Manager Pulses and Oilcrops, Dr Francis Ogbonnaya, said the findings of this research presents huge opportunities for growers.
“Growers will be able to add additional value to crops through objective segregation of high value grains to maximise their returns,” Dr Ogbonnaya said.
“Ultimately, if sensor-based technologies can be successfully employed on-farm, this will optimise the quality segregation process of grains and maximise grower returns.”
Contact Name: Justine Severin
Contact Number: 0436 674 804
Categorised under: Research,Agriculture