A new technique that uses microwaves to determine moisture levels in grain crops has been developed by USDA-ARS scientists.

In the new process, microwaves are transmitted through the grain between two antennas, determining moisture content. The procedure automatically adjusts for each grain type. In most current systems, a separate calibration must be developed for each kind of grain. The new technique eliminates multiple calibrations and compensates for grain density and temperature.

It also provides for continuous moisture monitoring. If commercialized, the process is expected to be cost-effective because no other sensor is needed for density and calibration maintenance is simpler.