Next Instruments is an Australian manufacturer of instrumentation for the grains and food industries. Over the last 5 years Next Instruments has been at the forefront of precision agriculture technology with the development of the CropScan 3000H On Combine Analyser. With more than 250 systems sold around the world, Next Instruments has become the world leader in this technology.
The CropScan 3000H provides grain farmers with real-time field maps for protein, moisture, oil, and starch as the grains are harvested in the field. Farmers can now blend grain based on quality parameters including protein, oil and starch to increase crop payments by 10-20%. As well, the systems superior moisture measurements allow operators to harvest for more hours in the day and thereby increase harvest efficiency by 20%.
Since proteins in grains and oil seeds contain approx 17% Nitrogen and 3% Sulphur, then measuring the protein and collecting the yield data off the combine provides farmers a means of generating Nitrogen and Sulphur Removal maps. Using Variable Rate Fertilizer Application technology, farmers can use the removal maps as a means of applying fertilizer to the zones in the field where they will get the most benefit. VRF applications offers farmers the potential to reduce fertilizer usage thereby reducing input costs but also to optimize the use of Protein/Yield balance across their fields. Since wheat and barley produce their full potential yield when the protein levels are around 11.5-12.5%, then farmers stand to increase their income by 10-20% through gains in yield and increased prices for higher protein grades.
A farmer in Kaniva, Victoria, Jonathan Dyer, installed a CropScan analyser into one of his John Deere Model S680 combines. He used the system to isolate low and high protein zones in a wheat field. By loading the low and high protein wheat into separate field bins, they were able to blend the grain to ensure that all loads delivered to the local silo were graded as H2 and H1 rather than some at APW. They calculated that in one field alone they generated an extra $12500 in protein payments. Jonathan commented that he has never made an equipment purchase that had such an immediate return on investment.
Chris Nelson, Strathmore, Alberta, Canada, installed a system onto his New Holland combine. He said that he was able to use the more accurate moisture measurements to strip his field earlier in the morning and later in the evening than his neighbors. He stated that he gained up to 2-4 hours a day which meant at least 1 day a week more operating time on the combine. He was able to get his crops in before a storm that came through and damaged several of his neighbor’s crops that were still in the field. Not only did the moisture measurements benefit but the protein measurements allowed him to strip out all the high protein grain early so that he could meet his forward contracts with Cargill. 2017 was a low protein year in Alberta and many of his neighbors failed to meet their forward contracts and had to pay large penalties or buy in high protein wheat from elsewhere.