AI employed to grade lentils before shipment

A South Australian agtech company has released an AI app that allows farmers to assess the physical quality of lentil samples simply by using their phones.

Dec 05, 2022, updated Dec 06, 2022
Kurt Walter of Walco Seed Cleaning Pty Ltd using the GoMicro Assessor to class lentils.

Kurt Walter of Walco Seed Cleaning Pty Ltd using the GoMicro Assessor to class lentils.

Developed by GoMicro, which is based in Tonsley and has offices in Singapore, the GoMicro Assessor enables lentils to be assessed for physical characteristics before they reach buyers and potentially replace the expensive machinery, industrial cameras and grain feeders that are now required to separate the grains for assessment.

GoMicro CEO Dr. Sivam Krish said the AI technology, which has been developed over years for projects as diverse as insect recognition and meat classification, can assess thousands of grains in about a minute with an accuracy of more than 95 per cent.

“GoMicro’s advantage comes from the small number of image sets required to train its AI applications,” Krish said.

“While most companies require thousands and thousands of images, GoMicro achieves high detection accuracies with a few hundred images, based on its signature imaging conditions using ambient light. This enables the company to build and test apps rapidly.”

The company’s technology is already being used to assess soy quality by PB Agrifood in Queensland and an app is being developed for an Indonesian company looking to assure the quality of corn in poultry feed.

The lentil app solves the problem of farmers not knowing the value of their crop until it is assessed at the delivery point, which can be several hundred kilometres away.

If the legume being delivered does not meet the standards required, it may be downgraded or rejected. The app will enable farmers to assess the quality of their product before delivery so they choose the most appropriate strategy to maximise their financial gain.

Krish said they started with lentils because they are the hardest to assess.

“We have succeeded with the hardest first, the rest should be easy,” he said, adding that they will release apps for assessing most export grains by the middle of 2023.

Although GoMicro doesn’t set the industry standards, Krish said “results from the GoMicro Assessor make quality standards transportable and verifiable as both the seller and the buyer can now make assessments independently.”

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He said this can help resolve quality-related disputes over grain destined for export, as both parties can now assess grain to pre-agreed standards using the same device and app.

Kurt Walter of Walco Seed Cleaning Pty Ltd said having a device that can assess the physical quality of grain both before and after cleaning is a huge benefit to both the seed cleaning industry and the farmer.

“Farmers often ask for our opinion of their grain sample based on a photograph, using a GoMicro Assessor we can more accurately predict not just if the job is possible but also the final outcome of the grade their grain will be after cleaning,” he said.

Walter said the GoMicro Assessor could easily be used during harvest on headers, allowing the operator to make adjustments to harvester settings to suit the grain as they reap.

“This could be especially useful this year with the extremely wet conditions, with reports emerging of poor colour and severe wrinkling in lentils,” he said.

“The GoMicro Assessor will give the farmers confidence in knowing their load of grain won’t be graded less than expected or rejected.”

Krish said the technology can create additional value to the industry by measuring aspects outside current standards, such as the size of each lentil.

“This will allow exporters to segment what they buy for different markets as some buyers are willing to pay a premium for larger lentils,” he said.

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