When bin sensors first came along it was a huge improvement over simply shoving a metal rod through the bin door in some ways. Because sensors are tethered though, you still end up with a linear — rather than a randomly distributed —set of measurements. This means you are not actually measuring a good portion of the bin.
At the recent Ag In Motion (AIM) show near Langham, Sask., Joy Agnew, project manager with PAMI, talked about bin sensors. I had a chance to ask her where the technology is going, and the answer, it seems, is ‘smaller’. (Story continues after video)
Agnew stresses the importance of seeing where you can’t see. “Knowing exactly what’s going on inside the bin is so critical for good grain storage management and investing in these technologies is an absolute must in my opinion.”
Agnew described her presentation at AIM as a ‘proof of concept’. These systems and sensors are not currently commercially available, but they can be made from parts off the shelf, and they can be useful. For people who are curious, the demonstration showed, “How these new sensors or these new micro processing technologies and communication wizardry, basically can really benefit producers on the farm.”
The question arises then, ‘what are the possibilities with this new technology?’ Agnew says, “The sensors themselves are basically limitless…. With the tethered sensors you’re limited to temperature and humidity and it converts that to moisture content, but with micro sensors, you know, you can be measuring sound, and movement, and location and (carbon dioxide) concentration, and really, it’s kind of limitless.”
The next evolution in sensors could be so small and so inexpensive they could be similar to the confetti that used to be deployed to identify grain. You could have thousands of tiny sensors in each bin. This would give you a much stronger indication of the condition of your grain and, the sensors could also track the grain, in real time, from the bin to the end user.