Storing crop products is no less important than growing - crop storage losses do great damage to the economy, reducing food and material resources. In Lithuania, about 10% of grain harvest is lost every year during storage. This is due to improper storage conditions, contamination, mold, pest activity. This results in the loss of thousands of tonnes of grain that never reaches the consumer, and grain growers suffer considerable losses as a result.
Farmers often store grain in their own warehouses, thus saving on the cost of grain cleaning, drying and storage services in grain elevators. Most of these storages are unsuitable for longer grain storage. They are not equipped with grain ventilation, cooling, ozonation systems, environmental conditions fluctuate due to the lack of sealing, which creates favourable conditions for the emergence and spread of microorganisms and pests. Spontaneous heating begins in wet grains, conditions are created for the development of microscopic fungi and bacteria, and nutritional value of grains is reduced. Damaged grains are unsuitable for the food industry, feed, even alcohol production, so if problems are not identified in time, huge financial losses are incurred.
The innovative grain and feed quality control system developed during the project consists of two components: technical measuring equipment and software. The measuring equipment continuously measures the relative humidity, grain temperature, CO2 concentration and other specific substances released during grain spoilage and the appearance of mold or pests. The measuring equipment consists of a set of sensors with all the necessary electronic infrastructure. The array of sensors consists of individual sensor devices that exchange information with each other and transmit the measurement results to the central server on the principle of a cellular network. Depending on its size and structure, the grain storage facility is equipped with several or more measuring devices, the readings of which are stored on a central server. The optimal layout of sensors in the warehouse is selected based on the results of research and modelling methodology of gas movement in such warehouses.
The software analyses the collected data and provides user-understandable information about grain storage conditions. When a measuring device detects a deviation, the user is provided with information about the specific deviation and the location of the recording device in the storage. The user can view detailed information about the operation of the sensors, the history of measurement results, see the conclusions of the analysis. Such a technological solution provides an opportunity to flexibly install the system, change its configuration, and provide information to the user in a convenient way.