A good-quality, well-maintained grain moisture tester is an invaluable tool for farmers. It can help reduce uncertainty and improve decision-making during harvest, storage and marketing of your grain.
We frequently get questions from customers about which grain moisture tester is right for them and how to get more accurate readings.
In this article, we’ll help you shop for the best grain moisture tester, highlight two portable grain moisture testers that do the job affordably, accurately and conveniently, and share a few tips on how to get more accurate readings from your tester.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Grain Moisture Tester
- Accuracy and Quality: Product quality is key. You need an instrument that provides accurate results, reliably, to help you deliver a quality grain product and protect your profit.
- Available Grain Calibration Scales: Due to how testers measure and calculate moisture, there are different calibration values needed from one type of grain to another. Grain calibration scales allow the tester to accurately account for those differences in its readings. Making sure that the grain moisture tester you choose either has the appropriate grain calibration scale already loaded or has the ability to be programmed with the appropriate scale is crucial. Some testers will only be pre-programmed with scales for more commonly produced grains. Others allow you to load grain calibration scales yourself and provide hundreds of options for you to choose from.
- Ease-of-Use and Speed: During harvest time, and, frankly, all year-round, farmers are on the go, and their time is precious. An easy-to-use tester reduces the amount of time spent learning or training how to operate the tester. Also, taking into account where you want to perform the tests is important, too. A benchtop moisture tester kept in your shop, office, or scale room may be more accurate, but if you are collecting samples in the field or from multiple locations, you may be losing time traveling between the sampling location and the tester. Portable, handheld testers allow you to test grain moisture on the spot wherever you are, saving you time, but there can be a tradeoff with accuracy versus a benchtop model.
- Extra Features: Extra features aren’t needed, but they are still important to consider, as they often improve accuracy or convenience. For example, since grain temperature can skew moisture readings, selecting a tester with automatic temperature compensation means you don’t have to measure and adjust the readings manually to account for temperature. Many testers allow you to manually adjust the calibration so that the readings provided by your tester more closely match those of your local elevator or grain buyer. And finally, some testers have the ability to measure test weight of the grain so you don’t need an extra scale to do so.
Two Handheld Portable Grain Moisture Testers To Try
Gemplers offers an assortment of portable handheld tester options. The ability to test grain moisture anywhere quickly and easily is the primary desire for most of our customers. Portable options also tend to be available at a more affordable price than benchtop models, and with proper use, portable testers still provide the accuracy many of our customers need.
The AgraTronix MT-16 Grain Moisture Tester is programmed with 16 grain scales, including scales for barley, canola, corn, flax, oats, rice, rye, safflower, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower and wheat. Repeatability & accuracy is plus or minus point five percent in normal moisture range for stored grain. It can store and calculate the average of up to 99 readings, automatically compensates for temperature, and can be manually adjusted to more closely match your local elevator.
The AgraTronix MT-PRO features 40 different grain scales. It includes scales for the more common grains, like the MT-16 has, along with some others, such as buckwheat, clover, fescue, mustard, peanuts and popcorn. Repeatability & accuracy is again plus or minus point five percent in normal moisture range for stored grain. The MT-PRO can average up to 20 readings, automatically compensates for temperature, and can also be adjusted to more closely match the readings from your local elevator.
Tips for More Accurate Grain Moisture Tester Readings
To ensure you are getting the most accurate readings from your grain moisture tester, follow these tips.
- Use fresh batteries. A low battery level can lead to inaccurate readings.
- Regardless of how easy the tester is to use, be sure to read the instruction manual completely as it will include the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to maximize accuracy with your particular model.
- Pay special attention to the directions on temperature compensation. Many testers have the ability to automatically compensate for temperature, but that is typically only within a certain range and only if the temperature of the grain is close to the temperature of the tester.
- Condensation and rapid temperature changes can cause inaccurate readings, too. Allow cold grain to warm to ambient temperature in a sealed container before testing. If pulling hot grain from a dryer, allow the grain sample to cool before testing. Avoid testing extremely cold or extremely hot grain to help with accuracy.
- Even if you don’t manually adjust the calibration of your tester to better match the readings of your local elevator’s moisture tester, you should still compare readings from your tester to readings from the elevator’s tester on several samples yearly to check the accuracy. If your tester consistently reads lower or higher than the buyer’s tester you then know to manually add or subtract that certain percentage to your readings to account for the difference. If your tester is providing unpredictable inaccurate readings, it may need to be sent in for factory re-calibration.
With these considerations for choosing a grain moisture tester, and these tips for use and accuracy, you’ll be equipped for testing your grain moisture this season. Shop these and other problem-solving products at Gemplers.com.