The quality of a commodity is determined based on the presence of certain set of traits inherent to the commodity or commodity group. Generally the set of parameters are common for commodities coming under cereals, pulses and oil seed group where as parameters differs for each commodity Spices or plantation crop groups. The quality of cereals like Paddy, Wheat, Maize, Bajra, Sorghum, Millets etc. is determined by the percentage of moisture present in the grain, quantum of foreign matter like dust and stones present in the lot, mixture of other commodity seeds, quantity of damaged or broken seeds and quantity of insect damaged grains in the lot. The set of parameters tested during assaying of lots is represented below in table I:
Pic: Assayer analysing samples
Detailed explanation of various Parameters:
- Moisture is expressed as percentage of water content in the grain. This is one of the most important factor. If moisture content is high in the produce it will not attract a good price as their will be high moisture loss it can’t be stored for longer time. Higher moisture deteriorates the shelf life of produce. Lots with lesser moisture content fetch a better price and increases the storage span of produce.
Digital Moisture Meter
- Foreign Matter represents the existence of sand, pieces of stone, plastic particles, metals and pieces of glass etc. in the food grains. It is expressed in percentage terms. Lesser the foreign matter content in produce, higher the price it fetches to the farmer.
- Admixture is other grains mixed up with principal grain. It is expressed as a percentage. Less admixture content fetch better price than the produce with much admixture.
- Damaged or Broken means visually damaged, broken grains and is expressed as percentage. More quantity of damaged grains in the lot would fetch lower price and it negatively affecting their value of the grains.
- Discoloured is change of colour in grains and no longer looks new, clean or healthy. Discoloration of grains are caused by either exposure to wet and damp conditions or a stress related biochemical reaction. It is expressed as a percentage. Higher quantity of discoloured grains in the lot affects the trade price of the produce.
- Fungus infestation cause germination decrease, discoloration, musty or sour odours, chemical and nutritional changes. It is expressed in percentage. The deteriorative changes caused by fungus affect the price of grain and contribute to customer dissatisfaction. Immature grains are the grains which are not matured properly. It occurs when there has been a significant amount of secondary growth. It is expressed as a percentage. Lesser immature grains content in the produce, it fetches better price.
- Shrivelled grains are dry and smaller than regular grain. It is expressed in percentage. Less shrivelled content in the produce fetches better price.
- Weevilled grains are those grains which are partially bored or damaged by small insects. It is expressed in percentage. The produce containing such weevilled quantity of grains do not fetch good price.
The quantum of presence of these -parameters in the grains defines the quality of produce. Lower the reading of above mentioned parameters better is the quality of produce and vice versa.