A Revolution Waiting To Happen In Grain Grading

Author Subramanian Akkulan on Dec 15 2021

The post-harvest quality of Foodgrains and Pulses sets the agenda for all the stages further down the ‘grain chain’ - the sequence of events that leads through milling and packing to consumption.

Grain quality is determined by several factors – the climatic and soil conditions during the growing season, weather conditions at harvest, harvesting techniques, post-harvest handling, storage, and transportation.

Every type of grain possesses properties that contribute to its overall quality. A combination of the various properties or qualities, either alone or together are used to grade and value grain. The main opportunity for grain quality analysis occurs just after harvest so that the procured grain can be segregated into separate storage areas, each containing the grain of a specific quality.

Why Is Grading Important?

Accurate grading of grains is critical to ensure that an objective standard is used to determine the price of the grain, thus protecting both the buyer and seller.

Where buyers are close to the source of the grain, e.g. in local markets, they have direct access to the product and therefore, some control over quality assessment. However, where grain is traded over large distances, particularly internationally, the buyer will have no direct influence over the quality.

For the seller, the absence of standard grading processes results in subjectivity and uncertainty over the realised vs realisable price.

The use of grading standards can send a clear indication of quality requirements to both producer and the buyer. With over 420 standard test methods, including at least 75 of those that are internationally applicable, it is apparent that there is a large diversity in grain measurement and grading.

However, most of these tests eventually measure four main properties:

(1) Bushel (test) Weight/Grain size

(2) Moisture Contents

(3) Proportion of Foreign Material

(4) Broken/Cracked Kernels

India’s Grading Challenges

Grain grading remains a major challenge in India. In a majority of villages, traders just approach a farmer at the market, cursorily inspect the grain by hand and quote the price they're willing to pay him. The farmer has no scientific way to assess the grain quality in order to demand a fair price. With a lack of scientific data, all that prevails is the ad hoc price that the trader quotes based on his judgement.

Research work into methods for instantly assessing the quality of grains holds the key to grain grading systems of the future. In India, there are a couple of “portable” devices that can assess the quality of grains and pulses. However, not only are such devices prohibitively expensive (costing upwards of Rs. 15 lakhs) but they are also very bulky to be carried around, especially in remote farms, making them sub-optimal for on-field grading.

An Indigenous Solution For Indian Farmers

While some technologies do exist that help measure grain quality, they remain out of reach of Indian farmers due to their expensive nature and the lack of a well-developed on-farm infrastructure of our country.

What if an indigenous technology exists that would allow farmers and graders to accurately assess the quality of grains and pulses at a fraction of the cost of expensive grading machines?

What if an indigenous technology exists that is already so ubiquitous in India that it needs no advanced training to accurately assess the quality of grains and pulses?

What if an indigenous technology exists that is so portable that anyone can carry it in their pocket and instantly assess the quality of grains and pulses by simply spreading them on a piece of paper?

What if an indigenous technology exists that would allow farmers and graders to get accurate results in less than 2 minutes?

WayCool has cracked the code and has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning powered solution that will help Indian farmers and graders accurately and instantly assess the size, count, and the quality of their grains and pulses using only their daily companion – their smartphone!

Sounds interesting? Stay tuned to learn more!

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