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Using On-Board Protein Analyzers for Making Grain Protein Content Harvest Maps of Spring Wheat

Study author(s): Rob Proulx / Lauren Proulx, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council 
Years of study: 2017
Location(s): n/a

Important: for the complete report, including all tables and figures, please download using the links to the right.

Background Info

Grain protein content in the harvested grain of a hard red spring wheat crop can drastically impact a producer’s profitability due to protein premiums and discounts. Additionally, maintaining high and quality grain protein content of hard red spring wheat is critical to supplying the protein needs of the world market.

  1. Engage a select few growers in the MWRPC OFRN to conduct multi-year field scale on-farm research.
  2. Test run the CropScan 3000H on-board whole grain analyzer, a promising new technology to our region that measures grain protein content on the fly while combining a wheat field.
  3. Create a protein map for all fields combined with the CropScan 3000H.
  4. Find predictors for grain protein content by layering known variables in GIS such as soil type, nitrogen (N) rate, or variables found from pictures taken with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).


  • Categorize variability in grain protein content across northwest Minnesota spring wheat production yields.
  • Identify within-field areas of particularly high or low protein content for further evaluation.
  • Identify within-field variables that are predictive of wheat grain protein content

Key Findings

The Next Instruments 3000H successfully gathered wheat grain protein data concurrent with yield monitor data acquisition. Within-field grain protein varies by 3% or more across the field. No grain protein trends were consistent across all 5 fields, but trends were found within individual fields. Protein data aggregation and/or smoothing is necessary for identifying within-field trends and for making comparisons with yield monitor data.

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