Renewable Farming

Hand-held instrument instantly measures grain protein, oil, carbohydrates, moisture

The new battery-powered instrument brand-named GrainSense is gaining use globally for instant analysis of any grain’s protein, moisture, carbohydrates and oil. The device interacts with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and transmits to a cloud-based database from your field.

January 5, 2021 — Farmers, livestock feeders, crop consultants, seed breeders and many other ag users could find the $4,300 device and related software well worth owning. Examples:

GrainSense instrument

Mixing your own feed for cattle, hogs, dairy, poultry? Analyzing batches of grain for protein, carbohydrates and oil can help assure least-cost, balanced rations without waiting for a lab report. If you’re buying grain locally, you can check it at the source before you buy.

Manufacturing specialty feeds for local sale to smaller livestock and poultry producers? We’ve seen several farmers generating substantial profit margins by setting up feed milling and mixing systems on the farm. Rather than relying on labs for grain analysis, they can test right at the farm to achieve correct protein balance.

Co-ops and crop consultants could offer an extra service to growers by doing custom testing of their clients’ grains on the farm. This could be especially useful to wheat growers, where protein content translates into extra value to millers. 

The only United States distributor of the GrainSense instrument as of early 2021 is Elevate Ag, at this link: Elevate Ag is based in Kansas, offering several biological and soil-friendly products.

Specialty millers, such as local-brand organic and non-GMO processors of cornmeal, flour and other boutique food products, could select grains for the right oil, protein and carbohydrate content needed in their products.

The instrument uses near-infrared spectroscopy, a proven technique. But the small sample is read under a reflective dome which amplifies the effective energy, shortening the reading time. 

You’ll get a clear idea of the instrument’s usefulness by looking at testimonies and descriptions on the GrainSense website:

Our thanks to Hal Brown, Indiana farmer, for alerting us to this new instrument.