Company unveils first in-field corn moisture analysis


ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Ag-tech startup Consumer Physics is unveiling the world’s first corn moisture analysis solution that provides results in seconds, in the field, directly on the cob, without shelling. The solution is based on SCiO – Consumer Physics’ micro-NIR flagship platform, which is also the world’s first pocket-sized connected micro-spectrometer.

The solution includes a pocket-sized analyzer based on NIR (Near Infra-Red) Spectroscopy as well as a mobile app that sends data to the cloud, where Consumer Physics’ algorithms analyze the data and send back the results in seconds. This solution is tailored for corn farmers, corn seed producers and agronomists. 

Corn plays a critical role in American and global agriculture and is widely implemented by various industries, from the food industry to a wide range of industrial applications. The National Corn Growers Association in the U.S. estimates that the value of corn grown in the U.S. alone amounted to $53 billion in 2019, planted on 90 million acres.

Analyzing moisture with SCiO is simple and non-destructive, and best of all, it is carried out in the field. The operation is as easy as scanning five different cobs, tapping the mobile app, and getting the moisture level reading within seconds. The solution’s accuracy and precision are on par with labs, and moisture levels range from 8% to 80%. The higher range is particularly relevant for seed producers to monitor the growing process and collect data to support the development of future products.

Consumer Physics’ user-friendly solution replaces lengthy, expensive, and complicated processes that currently require the collection of several corn cobs from the field, which are sent back to the plants or labs. In the labs, kernels must then be shelled and ground, with results taking up to several hours. With SCiO, users can conduct many measurements, daily, from numerous locations in the field, to ascertain the precise moisture level in each plot and determine the optimal harvest time. Users can also track and monitor the data collected in the cloud across time to produce long-range insights into crop efficiency and areas where they should make improvements.

Consumer Physics opened new Sales offices in Minnesota and started piloting the solution in 2019. Within a short period of time, SCiO was rolled out successfully by the leading corn growers and seed producers in the U.S., including Corteva Agriscience, Syngenta, Cargill, Beck’s, and Precision Planting.

Terry Allen, Consumer Physics’ North America Head of Business Development, said: “We successfully transferred NIR technology from the lab into the field, allowing growers and operators to get more data and take better decisions.”

According to Allen, “precise moisture measurement in real time has a direct impact on the corn business’ bottom line. SCiO was seen to improve forecasting by about 2%-3%, which is likely to save tens of thousands of dollars on an average 1000-acre field.”

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