Agriculture

Measuring instruments and systems in agriculture

In agriculture, as in life, water is essential. In fact, up to 70% of fresh water usage around the world is in agriculture, much of which is used for food producing crops. The quality of any key ingredient is critical, and Xylem has a full suite of water quality, flow and level testing and monitoring products from WTW, YSI, SI Analytics, SonTek, and OI Analytical brands.  And it doesn't stop there.  Xylem brands Bellingham + Stanley, SI Analytics and WTW also provide critical measurements within the farming community, including fruit ripeness (or Brix measurement) pior to harvest using a refractometer as well as acidity and sugar content in fruit packaging houses and the such like.

  • Monitoring and control on the farm

    Monitoring and control on the farm

    Down on the farm, refractometers are commonly used to determine the quality of colostrum fed to new born calves, foals and lambs so that they have a better chance of surviving the critical first days of their lives and of course, portable pH and conductivity meters monitor effluent levels and the quality of pond water down stream of any large scale farm and of course, soil pH so that crops can be planted that are best suited for its acidity.

    Xylem respirators play an important part here too. Biodegradable Oxygen Demand is an important measure of field, soil and water contamination. Associated with many farms these days are Anaerobic Digestion plants that generate biogas from animal and vegetable waste. Our respirators are commonly used to measure biomethane potential (BMP) and our titrators for measuring FOS/TAC, or acidity factor, an ongoing indicator of the bio-fermenters stability based on Volatile Fatty Acids content (FOS) buffer capacity (TAC) that prevents acidification in the reactor. Respirators may also be sued to emulate the fermentation, providing an alternative means of process control.

  • Get the best from your produce

    Get the best from your produce

    Xylem’s range of premium quality instruments for monitoring and control can be used for a wide range of agricultural needs. German made pH, conductivity, temperature and turbidity meters are used right throughout the production process, OI Analytical GC detectors commonly analyse a number of raw materials for authenticity and pesticide residue and latest technology YSI biochemistry analysers play an important role too - did you know that biochemistry analysers are often used for the measurement of sugars in stored potatoes or tomatoes.

    Sucrose and dextrose levels are closely monitored by potato snack and frozen food manufacturers, by testing the potatoes both before they go into storage and while being stored. As potatoes age, the carbohydrates convert to sugar and the higher sugar levels darken the cooked potato. Consumer preference determines that manufactures favour the lighter coloured crisps and chips so have come to use YSI biochemistry analysers to monitor the potato ageing process. Doing so minimises the waste of raw potatoes.

    In addition, recent research and new regulations state that the sugar content of potatoes destined for frying is related to acrylamide production in final foodstuffs. Thanks to the aforementioned sugar research the YSI analyser is capable of, growers and sellers can be assured that minimal sugars are present at the receiving station. The YSI method is fast, accurate, reliable and does not consume any water or produce any toxic waste.

  • Fruit ripeness

    Testing fruit for ripeness

    When it comes to fruit growers, refractometers from Bellingham + Stanley easily determine the °Brix of sugar containing foodstuffs; particularly useful for farmers monitoring the ripeness of fruit at source and in cold-storage. Farmers who do not monitor ripeness prior to harvest run the risk of picking too early and their produce being rejected by major supermarket chains that now have strict Brix specifications for almost every fruit and most vegetables. These specifications don’t just apply to fruit and vegetables, but also grass for hay and silage, and importantly, for monitoring honey moisture content at the beehive - a very important part of agriculture, as it is the bees that pollinate many of our crops.

    On a larger scale, processors and cooperatives that receive tomatoes, grapes, sugar cane or beet after harvest look to more sophisticated instrumentation; this is because the sugar content forms part of the payment made from the buyers to the growers and even the smallest error in calculation could cost either party a significant sum of money. For sucrose, the concentration of the juice is also checked for purity using a combination of Brix, density and optical rotation to ensure it has not been left too long since harvest (and spoiled) or that doping with other less expensive sugars has not occurred.

    Farmers also use refractometers as a control tool for AdBlue® (used in tractors and ploughs) and for mixing liquid fertilisers.

Digital IDS handheld devices

Digital IDS handheld devices

Robust, waterproof, digital portable multi-parameter instrumentation for IDS sensors. 

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Multi-parameter Pocket Meter MultiLine® Multi 3630 IDS

Multi-parameter Pocket Meter MultiLine® Multi 3630 IDS

Also available in a set with pH, conductivity and oxygen sensor. 

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OxiTop® measuring system for BOD self-monitoring measurement

OxiTop® measuring system for BOD self-monitoring measurement

For immediate use with carbonization measurements to optimize your biogas plant. 

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Refractometer

Refractometer

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