Pocket-sized moisture meter in the corn fields of the US

A new technology in the US means that corn farmers and seed producers can now use a pocket-sized moisture meter in the field to get the moisture content of a crop and the optimum harvest date.

SCiO for corn claims to be the world’s first and fastest in-field corn moisture analysis solution.

The Consumer Physics product allows farmers or agronomists to test large areas of corn for moisture content, to project the optimal harvest time and to save on lab costs and dry-down costs. It also has the potential to increase yield as optimum harvest date may be achieved.

The pocket-sized device is an analyser based on Near Infra-Red (NIR) spectroscopy. The user then uses a mobile app to send data to the cloud and Consumer Physics algorithms analyse the data and send back results in seconds.

The device works by placing it on just five different cobs in a field, tapping the mobile app and waiting for the result. The moisture reading will be returned seconds later.

The solution could take out the need for cob collection and lab analysis. Numerous different samples can be taken quickly and the data can be collected to track progress over time and see how management decisions worked out.

Consumer Physics has a sales office in Minnesota and trialed the solution in 2019 with corn growers and seed producers.

90 million acres of corn were grown in the US in 2019 at an estimated value of $53 billion.

According to Terry Allen, who is head of business development for Consumer Physics North America, he stated 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%, which is likely to save tens of thousands of dollars on an average 1,000ac field.”

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