With NIR, Calibrations Are Required

You may have heard about the new Insta-Pro Portable Ingredient Analyzer (PIA) NIR machine. NIR technology is specifically designed for Insta-Pro soy customers to help them manage their soybean and meal quality and consistency.

We’ve received several questions about how NIR machines work and about the need for calibrations.  These are very good questions.

Simply put, NIR machines work by shining near-infrared (NIR) light through a sample, and this gives information on the chemical bonds present.  The chemical bonds are then used to predict quantities of nutrients, like protein and oil.

So, NIR machines do NOT directly measure nutrients.  Rather, they are used to predict what data you would get from a lab.  As a result, every NIR machine must be calibrated against a set of samples that was analyzed by a lab.  So, data from NIR machines is only as good as the original calibration.

This takes us back to the Insta-Pro PIA NIR machine.  In order to construct valuable calibrations for our customers, samples of whole soybeans and partially-defatted soybean meal were gathered from Insta-Pro customers and analyzed by a lab for protein, oil, moisture, and fiber.  We were able to generate broad calibration curves with this wide-ranging data.

What this means is that every Insta-Pro PIA NIR machine:

  • is ready to be used immediately
  • requires no additional sampling or lab testing
  • should be effective with any Insta-Pro soybean customer
    • another way of saying this is that our calibration is robust
  • can be used for years without verifying the results because the original set of calibration samples covers most of what is seen in the field, and each PIA comes with standard samples that are used to perform a daily calibration self-check

So, to be clear, no regular calibration updates are required with the Insta-Pro PIA.

Please contact myself, Dave Albin ( or 515-419-2231) to learn more about the calibrated Insta-Pro PIA NIR machine and how it can help you in your soy operation.

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