The abbreviation NIR is just as common in agriculture as it is in the food industry. This is be-cause with spectroscopic analyses in the near-infrared (NIR) range, it is possible to determine in detail the freshness or the acid, protein, or starch content of fruit, vegetables and cereals.
NIR sensors are also able to recognize hidden pressure marks and other quality problems. They educe all the information that is relevant for producers and consumers from flour, potatoes, fruit, nuts, meat, dairy products, coffee, and tobacco without making physical contact.
This already starts on the field, where NIR sensors analyze crops in combine harvesters and forage harvesters or, with the aim of reducing the amount of organic fertilizer used, measure the concentration of nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, ammonium, and dry matter.
In barns, NIR technology is used to analyze the nutrients in feed and to monitor the health of automatically milked cows.
Many consumers would like farming to be more environmentally and animal-friendly. Lasers and optical processes could turn out to be key technologies in this area.