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Start-Up Spotlight: GrainSense
Giving grain and livestock farmers more control over the quality, cost, and pricing of their crops is the goal of Finland-based GrainSense. In about 30 seconds, the company’s handheld device measures the protein, moisture, oil, and carbohydrate content of cereal crops.
“Farmers don’t want to wait several days for results from a lab,” says Ykä Marjanen, cofounder of GrainSense. “By developing GrainSense, we are offering the same lab quality – at an affordable price – in a smaller form that anyone can use.”
For the first time, you will be able to quickly measure the key parameters of a crop in the field – before harvest – and make decisions that can significantly improve your productivity and profitability.
“The device will also enable meat producers to control and adjust the protein content of feed in real time, which can have a major impact on profitability,” he adds.
how it works
GrainSense is based on an optical-detection module and supporting mechanics and electronics with a Bluetooth connection to a mobile device, and it incorporates near-infrared (NIR) absorbance spectroscopy.
Powered by a battery, the optimal sample size for GrainSense is between 60 and 80 kernels. To take a measurement, a reference reading is first taken using an empty sphere for a baseline. Kernels are then loaded onto the tray, and the sample is measured. From these two measurements, the absorbance cross section (ACS) of the kernels can be determined. Multivariate calibration algorithms are used to define the protein, carbohydrates, oil, and moisture amounts.
The platform includes a mobile application with GPS and a connection to the cloud. The annual service fee is 250 euro (around $300). This includes four grain species (barley, oats, rye, and wheat), updates and calibrations, unlimited data storage, and the possibility to share measurement results.
“We are looking at adding oilseeds next,” says Marjanen. “When new calibrations are added, the system will automatically update, which means you won’t have to invest in additional software.”
The GrainSense solution has been developed in close collaboration with farmers and farming organizations. “Wherever the GrainSense solution has been introduced, we have seen exceptionally strong interest in testing and pre-ordering,” he says.
The device was launched in Sweden, Finland, and the Baltic region early last year. It will retail for 3,900 euro (around $4,700), which includes the device, a storage bag, and a measuring cup. It also comes with a one-year warranty.
“GrainSense is at least three times less expensive than the closest alternative,” says Edvard Krogius, CEO of GrainSense. “We believe it will pay for itself after one harvest season.”
about the company
Founders: Edvard Krogius, Arve Lukander, Ralf Marbach, Ykä Marjanen, and Max Schulman
Background: GrainSense was developed in close collaboration with grain and livestock farmers to ensure it is suitable for managing and optimizing the protein level of crops. It also measures moisture, oil, and carbohydrate content. The device currently has the ability to analyze barley, oats, rye, and wheat. The company plans to add other seed varieties – like rapeseed – in the near future. The device was initially released in the Swedish, Finnish, and Baltic markets. It has already seen interest from U.S. buyers and distributors.