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SeedCount is a digital imaging system specifically designed for the grain industry. It uses software and scanner technology to rapidly and accurately analyze a sample of grain and determine its principal characteristics. It generates detailed data tables that can be exported to any spreadsheet or database program. It provides this detailed information without damaging the grain sample.
SeedCount is currently offered for barley, wheat, rice and corn analysis. Future versions will include additional trays and calibrations for other grains and cereals.
SeedCount is essential for anyone who grows, sells, buys or uses grain and/or assesses its quality. Potential users are breeders, brewers, dealers, growers, food processors, maltsters, millers, etc.
SeedCount analyses the image and calculates the following quantities:
The program can save all of this data (and more) in a convenient form for use in a spreadsheet or database.
SeedCount uses a modified flatbed desktop scanner and a Microsoft™ Windows-based personal computer to create a digital image of a sample of grain, and then analyse the image. The scanner operates facing down inside the instrument cabinet.
A sub-sample of the grain is obtained with the sampling tube.
The tube collects a sample "core" from all levels in a bucket or small bag of grain. The tube contents are transferred to a volumetric cup. Up to 718 barley, 1000 wheat, 1300 rice or 316 corn kernels can be analyzed at once.
The sample is placed on a special indented tray and shaken to distribute the seeds into the shaped indents.
The indents have varying shapes allowing some seeds to fall into wide, shallow indents and lie on their back. In this position the length, width and area of the seeds can be measured. Other seeds fall into narrower indents and are held on their edge. When on their edge their thickness can be measured. Some grains, e.g. corn, also use end-on indents for viewing the crown directly.
The tray is placed in the scanner cabinet. SeedCount then scans the sample at 300 dpi in 16.8 million colours. The image can be saved to the computer’s hard drive as a lossless JPEG image file or as a BMP file for future reference.
The user must enter the clean weight of the sample and can also enter the initial as-is weight, moisture percentage, protein percentage and the volume of the sample. The user and site identification can also be entered.
The grain is not damaged by the scanning process and can be retained for retesting or used for other purposes.
After the tray is scanned and the image created, the user presses the Analyze button. The program then creates a separate image for every object and analyzes each of them. It finds the left-right and top-bottom bounds of the object, its area, its major and minor axes, its X-Y location, and makes several measurements of shape.
From all of the above measurements the program determines if the object is a whole kernel, a broken piece of a kernel or a non-seed object or dockage item. If several seeds form a clump, the program determines how many seeds are in the clump.
A feature of the tray is the use of narrow indents in a portion of the tray. These indents are shaped such that seeds are held on edge thus permitting measurement of thickness. Taking into account the length and width measurements in the wide indents and the length and thickness measurements in the narrow indents, the program combines them into a three dimensional statistical analysis of the seeds. The result is a table of screening equivalents that correspond to measurements made in traditional sieves.
A measure of quality is plumpness, the ratio of width to length. A similar measure, only possible using three-dimensional values, is roundness. Both of these are calculated for each whole seed.
From the number of whole seeds and the weight of the sample, the program calculates the TKW, thousand-kernel weight, a traditional quality measure. If the user has entered the percent moisture (measured with a separate instrument) the program calculates the TKW dry.
From the volume of the sample and its weight the program calculates the test weight, kg/hectoliter in Australia or bushel weight in the USA. Because of the small sample size this value is only approximate.
The blackpoint module is optional. When activated it searches for blackpoint in wheat, or its equivalent in barley – blacktip. Blackpoint is usually a darkening of the embryo area of the kernel, which is on the opposite side of the kernel to the crease. Thus blackpoint can be most easily and accurately seen in seeds lying embryo-up in the Width section indents and therefore have no crease showing.
The Blackpoint test finds dark patches near the end of the kernel. The blackness and area of discoloration is assessed as the Blackpoint Impact. The BP Impact fits into one of three groups, resulting in the kernel being marked as having None, Mild or Severe blackpoint. SeedCount reports the percentage of tested seeds that have blackpoint. This report is equivalent to the current subjective blackpoint tests. The overall Blackpoint Impact for the sample is also displayed.
All seeds assessed as having blackpoint will be highlighted. Seeds with mild blackpoint will be circled with green and seeds assessed as having severe blackpoint will be circled with red as shown below. The user can edit and change these designations for individual seeds manually.
Chalk is a white patch in rice that is due to open packing of the starch granules in the endosperm. It can be seen in both brown and white (polished) rice. The chalk module is optional. When activated the amount of chalk is assessed on the basis of the whiteness and the area of chalk, producing a Chalk Impact number, similar to the Blackpoint Impact number. Chalk with an Impact greater than 50 is regarded as having chalk. Numbers higher than 100 are possible.
Chalk in rice is assessed on individual kernels using reflected light. Only kernels in the wide area of the tray are assessed. Apart from being a simple yes/no assessment, the procedure and display is similar to blackpoint. Click on the Show Chalk button to examine these seeds. Those assessed as having a chalk impact of 50 or more have a red ring. The Chalk graph shows a more detailed kernel-by-kernel assessment of the sample.
The program can display all seeds within a given area range, a given length range or a given width range. It can display the dockage items separately. The image can be zoomed and panned to any degree of magnification. The X-Y location and the RGB color value of any pixel pointed to is also displayed.
Charpa Techcenter Co.,Ltd. 48 Soi Lasalle 43 Lasalle Street Bangna Bangkok 10260 Thailand
Mobile: 088-874-2201 Phone: +66 0 2399 3059-62,Ext. 130-136 Fax: +66 0 2748 6969