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Assessing the Utility of Microwave Kernel Moisture Sensing in Peanut Drying

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 32(6): 707-712. (doi: 10.13031/aea.32.11582) @2016
Authors:   Micah A. Lewis, Samir Trabelsi, Stuart O. Nelson
Keywords:   Dielectric properties, In-shell kernel moisture content, Microwave sensing, Peanut drying, Permittivity, Shelled peanuts, Unshelled peanuts.

Abstract. Presently in the peanut industry, peanut pods (unshelled peanuts) have to be shelled for kernel moisture content determination with the official moisture meter. This makes kernel moisture content determination laborious and limits efficiency during peanut drying. For field testing during the 2013 and 2014 peanut harvest seasons, a microwave moisture sensor was placed in several 45-ft (13.7-m) drying semi-trailers at a buying point in central Georgia to monitor kernel moisture content as the peanuts dried. Laboratory investigation of the accuracy of the portable microwave moisture sensor showed that peanut kernel moisture content can be determined from measurements on unshelled peanuts with a standard error of performance ≤ 0.55% moisture content when compared to the reference oven-drying method. A comparison was also performed between the microwave sensor and the official moisture meter during field testing. Results showed that there was a 2.3% difference in initial kernel moisture content determination and a 0.8% difference in ending kernel moisture content determination between the two. Overall evaluation demonstrated that the accuracy of the microwave moisture sensor and its provision of in-shell kernel moisture content would make it highly effective in the peanut drying process.

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