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Content archived on 2024-05-07

Quality of stored grain: building up a decision support system for management and control of quality of malting barley


1 - The problem Throughout EU, the requirements for grain quality for the end-users or for export have increased, regardless of the initial state of the grain at the harvest or the technology available to preserve it during the storage period. This applies particularly to malting barley which has a high export potential and demanding internal quality standards. Yet, it is easy to turn premium grade malting barley into animal feed barley with inappropriate storage practices. Consequently, important economic losses may occur during the storage period. Much of the knowledge required to maintain stored malting barley quality is fragmented and applied in different ways, with varying success. The lack of an effective EU-wide storage system hinders the EU potential to both supply the internal market and meet export potential.

2 - The objectives
General: To build up a computer expert system (ES) in order to assess, monitor and control the quality of stored malting barley.
Technological: To review the existing knowledge on quality management of stored grain, from the field to delivery to the processing industry or to the export channel, in view to identify specific areas where data are lacking and which will be completed by new experimental work.
To compile information into a computerised decision-support system.
To build software which can be made available in several EU languages in order to standardise grain quality management approaches throughout the EU, to reduce losses and enhance cereal food safety.
To validate this system under laboratory and field conditions.
To promote the final system to potential beneficiaries.
To allow an implementation of EU quality policy for food cereals through technology transfer.

3 -The work programme It is divided into complementary operations:
a. Collection and collation of technical information.
b. Compilation of models of physical conditions changes in a grain bin and their influence on quality characteristics; identification of knowledge gaps and completion of laboratory- and pilot-scale experiments to fill the gaps.
c. Building the decision support system, in which initial quality measurements and monitored values interact with predictive models and technical advice.
d. Validation of the system by farm- and commercial-scale experiments carried out in several EU countries.
e. Promotion of the final system to store-keepers of grain.

4 - The costs- money and manpower.
Total estimated cost: 2073.75 kECUs, needing ca. 1439.75 kECUs support by EU. Manpower required: ca. 285.5 man-month (i.e. about 9 man-year) over the 3 years period of project realisation.

5 - How the results will be disseminated and exploited
The decision support software will be available initially in 3 European languages. The professional organisations involved in the project will promote the ES and will study the commercial development in relation with industrial partners. The project will also be publicised at meetings of Maltsters and Brewers, in the appropriate commercial press, as well as at the usual formal scientific conferences on control applications in post-harvest and processing technology. Exploitation will be enhanced by the ability of the system to promote cost savings and quality manipulation during storage.

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Participants (9)