Assessing kernel processing score in the field can optimize corn silage production

New image processing app will be featured at MSU Agriculture Innovation Day on Aug. 24, 2017 at the Lake City Research Center.

Photo credit: Kurt Stepnitz, MSU
Photo credit: Kurt Stepnitz, MSU

A new image processing application allows farmers to assess their kernel processor performance in the field using a mobile device. The new app will be featured at the upcoming MSU Agriculture Innovation Day, Aug. 24 at the Lake City Research Center, where farmers will be able to see how it works firsthand.

Attendees will learn about how this new image processing application can be used to define kernel processing score (KPS) by snapping a few photos with a smartphone or tablet.

Brian Luck, Extension specialist in biological systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be discussing the research behind the application and will demonstrate what steps to take to achieve the most accurate KPS.

Before the development of this application, KPS was typically determined by sending samples to a lab and waiting for results, or with the water separation method, which can be inaccurate, according to Luck.

With the new application, farmers can get results instantly and make adjustments as needed to optimize feed quality and harvest efficiency.

“It’s important to pay attention to your machine settings during forage harvest,” Luck explains. “This new image analysis app gives farmers more opportunities to make adjustments during the harvesting process to maintain quality.”

Luck will speak with farmers and researchers about his image processing app and how it can be used to optimize corn silage production when Michigan State University (MSU)  hosts the second annual MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Forages and the Future, Aug. 24, 2017, at the Lake City Research Center in Lake City, Michigan.

“Our goal is to make it easier to produce high quality corn silage. This new app is easy to use, and a beta version will be available at Ag Innovation Day to give producers a chance to see how it works,” Luck said.

The app will be available to download for a small fee in the app store on Android and Apple devices. A future version of the application will include a “share” button to give farmers the option to share their data with researchers.

“This app is intended to take guessing out of the equation,” Luck said. “Growers will know in real time what kernel processing settings to adjust to achieve the best quality forage for their animals.”

Luck is one of many speakers set for MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Forages and the Future. The daylong program will provide opportunities to learn about the latest research on silage production, double cropping, reduced-lignin alfalfa, baleage and grass-fed beef, among other topics. MSU Agriculture Innovation Day is an annual event focusing on in-depth education on critical topics. The event rotates to various locations throughout the state to give farmers access to experts who can help them improve their businesses while maintaining environmentally sound practices on their farms. To learn more about the event and the sessions being offered, visit is encouraged, but not required. 

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