Precision FarmingMeasure protein while harvesting

Bernd Bund no longer wants to combine crops without using the HarvestLab 3000 NIR sensor to directly measure the protein content of his wheat, because it is easier for him to market.

Bernd Bund’s farm lies in Hesse, a German federal state in the middle of the country. Together with another farmer, he harvests almost 500ha of arable land as part of a machinery co-oper­a­tive. His crop rota­tion includes winter wheat, winter and spring barley, rape­seed and peas.

Protein content in focus

Mr Bund markets his wheat through the regional agri­cul­tural merchant. Depending on the market situ­a­tion and his own expec­ta­tions, between 20 and 60% of the milling wheat is pre-contracted annu­ally.

Today, Mr Bund no longer wants to do without the infor­ma­tion provided by the HarvestLab 3000 NIR sensor.

Protein content is the most impor­tant para­meter when it comes to marketing. By using near-infrared (NIR) spec­troscopy the HarvestLab 3000 sensor from John Deere provides him with this data instantly during harvest. For this purpose, the NIR sensor is mounted to the side the John Deere S780i combine.

This is exactly the infor­ma­tion to help us.

Bernd Bund

In 2021, Mr Bund used the NIR sensor for the first time. Previ­ously, the protein content in wheat during harvest was a “black box” for him. To analyse protein levels, a farm worker had to take a wheat sample to the grain merchant. It took about 2.5 hours until the result was finally avail­able. “By then, we were already harvesting in another field and the condi­tions were different,” he explains.

Harvest Lab 3000 also provides the farmer with wheat mois­ture data. Comparing the values with those measured by manual devices on his farm, he believes that the sensor provides more precise data. For Mr Bund, however, mois­ture measuring is only of secondary impor­tance. For him, the focus is on the quality of his grain.

HarvestLab 3000

Near-infrared (NIR) spec­troscopy to analyze various constituents within harvested crops, silage or slurry (one sensor, three appli­ca­tions)

Find out more

Exploiting the economic poten­tial

“In the past, as soon as the wheat was in storage, I could no longer sepa­rate it and there­fore I could not exploit the economic poten­tial,” explains Mr Bund. “We also do not have the storage capacity to sepa­rate batches of wheat on spec. This used to be a problem for us. We could not achieve a premium for higher wheat quality.”

Today, batches are sepa­rated according to quality criteria during the harvesting process and unloaded onto different trailers. This helps a lot with marketing, but clear docu­men­ta­tion is crucial.

Mr Bund can call up the protein content data directly from the John Deere Oper­a­tions Centre while viewing it simul­ta­ne­ously on the PC or smart­phone. The latter he finds partic­u­larly useful. This allows him to view the data easily and intu­itively at the touch of a finger and decide which box to put the respec­tive charge. “This is exactly the infor­ma­tion that I didn’t have before  and that now takes us a good step forward”, he says.