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wedish company, Cgrain AB, has developed a new instrument for visual quality assessment of grain. Grain testing is done at several points during handling. It is done at reception for sorting, for payment to the supplier, for the control of processes, after cleaning, and for research and development. Most quality parameters, such as protein, moisture content and specific weight, can now be tested with the help of instruments, the use of which has been an important development in facilitating testing. Today, in only a few minutes, results may be obtained for many key quality parameters. The ability to obtain results quickly permits grain to be segregated or sorted correctly and according to its quality.

New instrument for visual quality assessment

However, there is one grain test that is still done without the help of instruments, that is, the analysis of visual quality parameters. This analysis includes for instance, foreign grains, broken kernels, fungus-infested grains and other material. Cgrain AB, a Swedish company, has developed an instrument for the assessment of visual grain quality by analysing each kernel in a sample using advanced image analysis. The instrument, Cgrain Value, has a unique design that documents virtually the entire surface of every kernel. This instrument sets a new standard for the assessment of visual grain quality. The development of Cgrain Value was started in 2009 with a collaboration between Cgrain AB’s CEO, Jaan Luup, and Lantmännen, Sweden’s largest agricultural cooperative. The objective was to produce an instrument to be used for evaluating visual parameters at the point where grain is received. Jaan Luup has worked for 30 years with sorting instruments to 42 | December 2016 - Milling and Grain

analyse foreign grains in seed samples. These instruments are used in several seed laboratories in northern Europe. Since the development started, Cgrain AB has worked continuously in collaboration with end users to develop a tool that can be adapted to customer needs. Cgrain Value is used today at grain reception at mills in the Nordic countries as well as in seed breeding. Cgrain Value currently has programs for analysing wheat, barley, rye, triticale, oats and naked/dehulled oats. Examples of defects that are detected include foreign grains, weeds, broken kernels, green kernels, pink Fusarium in barley, and other material. In addition, the instrument can also be used for size measurements such as screening analysis and thousand-kernel weight.

Time-consuming and subjective manual analysis

Manual analysis of visual quality is time consuming, subjective and dependent on trained personnel. The work is strenuous on the shoulders, back and wrists and grain dust can be irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Using an instrument improves the work environment on all counts. Manual analysis is also labour intensive; the time for each analysis varies depending on sample quality and the importance of accuracy. A commonly assumed time for each analysis of visual quality is about 5-10 minutes for a sample of 50 grams. A sample with a high level of defects or where accuracy is crucial takes longer to analyse, since every kernel must be rotated to spot any defects. However, when using the Cgrain Value instrument, 10-15 kernels are analysed from all sides every second. Manual assessment of visual quality is highly subjective. For example, different people perceive colour variation differently. This means manual analyses will vary significantly among individuals, and even between two analyses by the same person. Cgrain Value has repeatability far superior to manual analysis and gives results that are both more consistent and more reliable.

DEC 2016 - Milling and Grain magazine  
DEC 2016 - Milling and Grain magazine