Constituent Sensing of Small Grains
Knowledge of the constituents (e.g. protein, carbohydrates) of foodstuff is important for consumers as indicators of nutritional value as well as for the food producers concerning processing quality. Additionally, food safety demands full traceability of crop constituents along the complete food processing chain. This includes correct and seamless documentation of all production steps. One missing piece is real-time measurement of crop constituents during harvesting operations. Knowing constituents already at harvesting time allows for a beer segregation of different quality levels, which improves logistics and efficiency in the next processing steps and reduces waste. In addition, protein levels are highly linked to the nitrogen uptake from the soil, which will support a more sustainable balanced nitrogen fertilization in the following years. Therefore, John Deere and its partners will develop integrated smart sensors to measure constituents of crops which can be used on harvesters and food processing plants.