Lewis M.A.,Research Agricultural Engineer Postdoc |
Nelson S.O.,U.S. Department of Agriculture |
Tollner E.W.,University of Georgia |
Haidekker M.A.,University of Georgia
Applied Engineering in Agriculture | Year: 2013
Peanut (arachis hypogaea L.) drying is an essential task preceding the grading process. Kernel moisture is one of five parameters used to establish the grade for a specific lot of peanuts, and it is imperative that peanuts be dried to a kernel moisture content <10.5% wet basis for grading and storage purposes. Today's peanut drying processes utilize decision support software based on modeling and require substantial human interaction to obtain kernel moisture content. These conditions increase the likelihood of peanuts being overdried or underdried. This research addresses the need for an automated controller with real-time, in-shell kernel moisture content determination capabilities. By using a microwave moisture meter, developed within United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, the moisture content of the peanut kernel can be determined without having to shell the peanut pods. The kernel moisture content and atmospheric conditions serve as inputs to the controller, and thus, air temperature and drying time are controlled automatically. Such implementation reduces overdrying and underdrying, preserves quality of peanuts, and minimizes energy consumption through efficient control of the heater. In this article, a quarter-scale drying system with automated control is discussed. Kernel moisture content was determined in real time with a standard error of performance of 0.55% moisture when compared to the reference oven-drying method. Such results show promise for large-scale implementation and testing. © 2013 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers ISSN 0883-8542.