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The FOSS grain ring test goes global

A ring test used to check the reliability of near infrared (NIR) measurements of grain now includes 37 laboratories from six continents.

The purpose of ring test is to compare test results obtained using the grain calibration for FOSS Infratec NIR grain analysers with test results from various reference laboratories.  

Handling global variations in grain samples

Amongst other things, the test helps to check that the calibration accommodates the typical seasonal variations that occur with grain samples across different geographic regions and from harvest-to-harvest.  These variations can be handled because the calibration uses a so-called artificial neural network (ANN) approach. The ANN calibration is based on data from over 50,000 grain samples acquired by FOSS over many years of work in the global grain sector. 

The ring test was set up in 2007 as a natural development of periodic studies with reference laboratories.  Originally there were 19 participating laboratories around Europe. Now it involves 37 laboratories from Europe, North and South America, South Africa, Oceania and Asia with China, Malaysia, Russia and Argentina participating for the first time.

The scope of the ring test has also been expanded. As well as the original tests on wheat and barley for protein and moisture, it now includes rapeseed for oil and moisture.

Stable results with NIR

The results from the successive ring tests show that the FOSS Artificial Neural Network (ANN) calibration is very stable for protein and moisture in wheat and barley against reference methods. Good performance with the rapeseed prediction models is also seen especially in terms of reproducibility which is slightly better than the reference method.

The stability is essential to ensure reliable representative measurements for the grain industry, year after year. Speaking at the FOSS 2016 Grain Network Meeting in Reims, FOSS Chemometrician, Tomas Nilsson showed results indicating yet another year of excellent stability and performance with the ANN calibration. He said: “This international ring test is essential to validate against ISO standards and to avoid drifting with the calibration model. It is also important in monitoring reference methods, local prediction models, the instruments and the reproducibility of the FOSS ANN prediction models.”  

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