Home > Infratec™ Sofia a hit with Australian Grain Farmers

Infratec™ Sofia a hit with Australian Grain Farmers

Supplier News
article image Grain farmer with the FOSS Infratec™ Sofia grain analyser

FOSS  in the Pacific region has launched a new portable on-farm grain analyser called the Infratec™ Sofia. This new instrument was released in August and is being distributed by ABB Grain Ltd in Eastern Australia and the CBH Group in the West.

Infratec™ Sofia is a rugged, simple-to-use and accurate grain analyser that allows farmers to make informed decisions about when to harvest and how best to use the crop.

Measurements are simple to perform by anyone and results for parameters such as moisture and protein are delivered in around three minutes. The mobile analyser is designed for operation in harsh Australian conditions. No grinding or sample preparation is required. Current measurement options include moisture and protein for wheat and barley.

Infratec Sofia is fully aligned and calibrated against the Infratec™ 1241 analyser. The Infratec is the official system used for payment by bulk grain handlers across Australia and around the world.

The idea of having an on-farm grain tester is not new to Australian farmers, but until recently the right solution has proved elusive. John Warda, executive manager of group operations for ABB, explains how ABB has been working with FOSS on the development of this unit since early 2007.

“While the early units were prototypes, we were very excited when we saw the production models in late 2007 and then again in early 2008,” he says. “Farmers have been asking for an instrument like this for several years, particularly in the area of moisture testing.”

Colin Tutt, general manager of operations at CBH, was also involved in the early development as a founding member of a group that has pushed FOSS to develop a more portable instrument for use by growers on farm. Now, all the input on behalf of grain growers appears to have paid off.

Tutt reports how growers like the portability of the Infratec™ Sofia and the ability to better manage harvesting without delay because testing can be performed directly in the field. Warda also confirms how Sofia has been a huge drawcard at the farmer field days around Australia (local events where farmers from the surrounding area can catch up with the latest developments in farming). A lot of growers have been excited about the unit, and many have already placed orders.

What makes Infratec™ Sofia special?

“It’s special as it aligns with the Infratec for the first time, is made by the same company and, most importantly, has full support with respect to its operations,” says Tutt with reference to the fact that the Infratec Sofia’s big brother is the widely used Infratec™ 1241 grain analyser. The Infratec is used the world over for analysing grain at intake and is well known for its accuracy and stability. “Other protein testing equipment has never been accurate in comparison to the analysers used at silos,” says Warda. “The critical advantage for Sofia is that it aligns very closely to the Infratec 1241 Grain Analyser.”

According to both sources, the main benefit for growers is the ability for farmers to be able to accurately test their wheat and barley in the field for protein and moisture content. Growers can then make informed decisions regarding the marketing of their crop and thereby maximise their profitability. The portability and robustness of the unit is therefore a major advantage.

Getting the best out of the crop

Infratec Sofia appears particularly well suited to helping Australian growers to get the best out of their crop. Tutt explains: “The key in Australia is to maximise value during the harvesting process, as all payment structures are based on quality, i.e. higher protein, more dollars; lower moisture, more dollars and so on. Growers can now also maximise blending opportunities on farm, prior to delivery.”

Warda reports how the Australian grain industry is undergoing massive changes, particularly in the area of marketing. Deregulation of the traditional marketing activities is opening up a whole range of opportunities for growers. “Accurate and rapid testing for grain quality in the paddock is essential for growers to be able to gain maximum benefit from these opportunities,” he says.

As grain prices remain volatile, analysis on farm is also likely to become increasingly important. “The expectation is that there will be greater price spreads between higher and lower grades,” says Warda. For farmers to take advantage (or to not give away value) it is important that growers can segregate high and lower quality grains. “The Sofia will allow farmers to do this very quickly and economically,” he says.

Global potential

Tutt and Warda agree on the relevance of Sofia for application on a global scale. “It is essential for growers to maximise their value while harvesting,” says Tutt. According to Warda, every grower is going to need some form of advantage. “In extremely competitive domestic and international markets, Sofia will provide the means to extract the maximum value from their crop,” he says. “This would apply in any country where the market is differentiating quality.”

Newsletter sign-up

The latest products and news delivered to your inbox