Grain moisture meters are essential devices for arable farmers and others working in the agricultural industry.
But what is the significance of measuring moisture content in grains? And how can the RDS Combine Moisture Meter 100 help? Our experts break down grain moisture meters in this article.
What is a Moisture Meter?
A moisture meter is a technological device that measures moisture or water content in materials. A grain moisture meter measures the amount of water in grains, such as rice, corn, beans, wheat, and millet, among others.
Why use a Grain Moisture Meter?
The primary goal of a grain moisture meter is to determine if the grain is ready for the next step in the production process. The moisture content in a grain plays a critical part in its quality, storage, and sale weight. Therefore, it is crucial they are measured accurately to maximise profits.
Prior to moisture meters, farmers would measure the moisture content of their grains by biting into them. If the grain broke easily, it was considered dried. The creation of grain moisture meters has allowed for a more efficient system to become the industry standard, saving time, energy, and reducing post-harvest loss.
Benefits of Grain Moisture Meters
The benefits of using a grain moisture meter are significant for farmers operating in the industry.
Prevention of mould growth in grains
One of the key challenges facing farmers is mould growth from a high moisture content in grains. This is because mould thrives in moist environments, so it can grow on moist grains and spread across the whole production if left unchecked. The moisture meter allows farmers to reduce the chances of this happening, giving them the confidence to harvest and sell healthy produce.
Quality control at harvest
A successful yield involves harvesting the crops in as dry conditions as possible. This was aided this year by a year-long dry spell, ideally below 18% moisture. The grain is then further dried down to 14-15% moisture content, commonly achieved with the use of a mobile match drier. This method enables the grain to remain in a stable state, with the moisture removed and little chance of mould growing.
Increased revenue from a reduction in the post-harvest loss
Post-harvest loss concerns the reduction in the quality and quantity of grains due to various means. However, this can be managed through grain moisture meters detecting high moisture grains during harvest ‘on the go’ to prevent grain spoilage. With greater levels of efficiency and more healthy crops to sell, revenue will in turn be maximised.
Using the Combine Moisture Meter 100 at harvest
The RDS Combine Moisture Meter 100 is a grain moisture meter that is suitable for all types of combine harvesters. It gives the operator a constant and dynamic display of grain moisture as it measures the content of grain passing through the combine. At the touch of a button, it can provide the grain temperature compensated reading to the operator.
The moisture sensor is usually installed near the top of the clean grain elevator. If the moisture exceeds a pre-established threshold, an internal audible warning will sound, and the display will flash to alert the operator. The meter is pre-calibrated for up to six different crops and is suitable for all combinable crops, including grass seeds and oilseeds.
Monitoring moisture content ‘on the go’ enables the control and management of drying costs. The cost of drying ranges between £20 and £30 per tonne, depending on the moisture percentage and handling charges. Crops cut below 18% moisture can be stored for a short period without further drying if they can be ventilated through pedestals or under-floor ventilation. However, this would need to be carefully monitored to ensure it doesn’t begin to spoil.