Gord and Pat Keller developed ProGrade
By Diego Flammini
A father and son farming duo from Saskatchewan have created a mobile app to help canola producers with grading.
Pat Keller and his father Gord, cash crop producers from Nut Mountain, Sask. developed ProGrade to give canola growers a better understanding of the quality of their grain.
Several factors played into the Kellers’ decision to create the mobile tool.
The 2019 harvest, the variances in grades depending on the elevator a farmer takes it to, and the Canadian Grain Commission’s guidelines can make it difficult to identify the proper grades, Pat said.
“When we went to harvest our canola, the green count was all over the map and you could take the same pail to different elevators and we were getting different answers,” he told Farms.com. “It basically comes down to the eye of the beholder and I was tired of how subjective it is.
“I found that whole process frustrating and when you read the Grain Commission’s grading charts, that doesn’t provide much clarity either.”
Pat’s background in designing and automating gas plants gave him confidence an app like this could be created.
To use it, a producer opens the app and takes a picture of a 100-seed sample. The artificial intelligence within ProGrade will identify the number of green, yellow and black seeds within the sample.
The tool isn’t a replacement for official grading, nor could a producer use the app’s reading to compare the crop to what a grain elevator might say.
But having another resource available is always something farmers are looking for, Pat said.
“Right now, it’s just another tool and any final grade would still have to come from the elevator,” he said. “Or maybe a farmer uses it and decides to store grain separately based on what the app says.
“But I do see a time when these apps will be sophisticated enough to give official grades. There just needs to be more development and discussion.”
ProGrade itself is still in development.
Pat is the only person who has the app. He hopes to officially launch it during the 2020 harvest.
It will initially only be available for iPhone because of how similar the company’s cameras are compared to Android devices.
“When you get into Android, they change the way blues and greens are seen through their lenses,” Pat said. “iPhone cameras are a little more consistent and it was important for us to keep things as consistent as possible.”