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29/06/2020 – News / Agriculture / Consumer Physics / Ag-tech / Corn / Moisture / Analysis / Technology  US

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A pocket-sized solution from US start-up Consumer Physics enables farmers, agronomists and seed producers to test larger areas, project the optimal harvest time, save lab and dry-down costs, and increase yield potential.

Ag-tech startup Consumer Physics has just unveiled what is believed to be the world's first corn moisture analysis solution that provides results in seconds, in the field, directly on the cob, without shelling. The solution is based on SCiO – Consumer Physics’ micro-NIR flagship platform, which is also the world’s first pocket-sized connected micro-spectrometer.


The solution includes a pocket-sized analyser based on NIR (Near Infra-Red) Spectroscopy as well as a mobile app that sends data to the cloud, where Consumer Physics' algorithms analyse the data and send back the results in seconds. This solution is tailored for corn farmers, corn seed producers and agronomists.


Corn plays a critical role in American and global agriculture, and is widely utilised across a variety of industries, from the food sector to a wide range of industrial applications. The National Corn Growers Association estimates that the value of corn grown in the US alone amounted to US$53 billion in 2019, planted across 90 million acres.


Swift analysis for instant and long-range insights


Analysing moisture with SCiO is simple and non-destructive, and best of all, it is carried out in the field. The operation is as easy as scanning five different cobs, tapping the mobile app, and getting the moisture level reading within seconds. The solution's accuracy and precision are on par with labs, and moisture levels range from 8 to 80 per cent. The higher range is particularly relevant for seed producers to monitor the growing process and collect data to support the development of future products.


Consumer Physics' user-friendly solution replaces lengthy, expensive, and complicated processes that currently require the collection of several corn cobs from the field, which are sent back to the plants or labs. In the labs, kernels must then be shelled and ground, with results taking up to several hours. With SCiO, users can conduct many measurements, daily, from numerous locations in the field, to ascertain the precise moisture level in each plot and determine the optimal harvest time. Users can also track and monitor the data collected in the cloud across time to produce long-range insights into crop efficiency and areas where they should make improvements.


Precise moisture measurement in real time


Consumer Physics opened new sales offices in Minnesota and started piloting the solution in 2019. Within a short period of time, SCiO was rolled out successfully by leading US corn growers and seed producers, including Corteva Agriscience, Syngenta, Cargill, Beck’s, and Precision Planting.


“We successfully transferred NIR technology from the lab into the field, allowing growers and operators to get more data and take better decisions,” advised Terry Allen, North America Head of Business Development at Consumer Physics, who added that precise moisture measurement in real time has a direct impact on the corn business' bottom line. “SCiO was seen to improve forecasting by about 2-3 per cent, which is likely to save tens of thousands of dollars on an average 1,000-acre field,” he told us. 


Consumer Physics works with Corteva to be at the forefront of technology and maximise seed quality and overall effectiveness in key crops such as corn. Looking ahead, this unique solution for in-field moisture analysis will enable farmers, agronomists and seed producers to test larger areas, project the optimal harvest time, save costs and ultimately ensure great quality seed for the customer.


To learn more about the new corn moisture analysis tool, check out the firm’s video:

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