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Unlocking the yield gap with next-gen analyser

One of modern grain production’s most pressing issues is yield gap – the difference between the potential yield in optimum conditions and the actual yield achieved. Australian agrifood tech company Next Instruments is seeking investors or strategic partnerships to help even more farmers bridge that gap with its CropScan 3300H On Combine Analyser and CropScanAg N-Gauge App.

Phil Clancy pointing at screen of CropScan's cabin display technology
CropScan's cabin display technology

With the United Nations forecasting world population to near 10 billion people by 2050 one of the biggest challenges before modern agriculture is how to increase production to ensure food supplies can keep up.

Next Instruments and CropScanAg founder and engineer, Phil Clancy, has been working in the agritech sector for decades and says the grains industry will play a pivotal role.

“Grains are the starting block for virtually all food,” said Phil.

“They are used to produce meat, from chickens to beef to pork, and give us flour and rice. So, trying to increase the amount of grain that is produced around the world is a mechanism for solving this problem.”

Phil said one obstacle to higher production volumes within existing farmland is the yield gap.

“The potential yield minus the actual yield is the yield gap,” said Phil.

RELATED: How to feed 10 billion people by 2050 with Phil Morle^

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Next Instruments Pty Ltd

Next Instruments manufactures analysers for the agriculture and food industries. Their technologies include Near Infrared Analysis, Image Analysis and Enzymatic Digestion Analysis which we have developed in house or licensed from CSIRO or universities.
  • Location

    Condell Park, NSW - Global

  • Organisation type

    Startup or Scaleup or SME

Next Instruments and CropScanAg founder and engineer, Phil Clancy.

“Data from ABARES, and from CSIRO, show there is a 50% yield gap in Australia. We have the capacity to increase our yield by 100% - double. That would be an incredible impact for Australian farmers but also the world’s food security.”

Understanding nitrogen levels is at the heart of solving the yield gap challenge.

“Fundamentally, nitrogen is the major nutrient which drives yield. Assuming you have water, then the amount of nitrogen that you apply to the grain through various stages of the crop growth cycle dictates how the yield is going to end up,” said Phil.

“What we have been able to find is that within any field you can identify those zones which are underproducing in yield due to nitrogen.

“The way to do that is to measure the nitrogen that is being taken up from the soil and used in the plant by measuring the protein content of the seeds. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are made up of nitrogen.”

“The way to do that is to measure the nitrogen that is being taken up from the soil and used in the plant by measuring the protein content of the seeds. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are made up of nitrogen.”

The CropScan 3300H On Combine Analyser is the world’s only proven near-infrared grain analyser incorporated into a combine, providing a true measurement of nitrogen removal. A sample is scanned every five to 12 seconds as the harvester travels up and down the field delivering real-time protein, oil, and moisture data to make better production system decisions, including better nitrogen fertiliser distribution. The software also sends the data to the cloud where it can be monitored using a PC, tablet, or smartphone, using the CropScan N-GAUGE App.

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“Knowing the amount of nitrogen being removed from the soil to produce the plant and then looking at the yield for that allows you to develop what’s called a protein-yield correlation map. This has four zones, including where you’ve got the right amount of nitrogen and where’ve you have too little nitrogen.

“If you can take the extra nitrogen you’re putting on one zone where you’ve already optimised it and distribute it to underperforming zones you can increase overall yield and decrease the yield gap.

“What we’ve been able to show is that it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be able to produce a positive yield response if you follow  N-GAUGE Variable Rate Prescription Maps..”

Next Instruments is now seeking investors to continue to grow the market for CropScan 3300H, which has achieved sales growth of more than 30% per year for the past three years. 

“Investment would allow us to drive rapid growth internationally,” Phil said. "That could come in the form of a partnership with a major company where they put in money and expertise such as marketing and distribution, or just straight-out investment. We are talking to people on both fronts.”

Phil Clancy demonstrating the CropScanAg technology.

RELATED: WaterCan Profit calculator set to optimise cropping, ready for commercialisation^

The CropScan 3300H On Combine Analyser has been installed on John Deere, Case IH, New Holland, Claas, Massey Ferguson and Gleaner combines around the world with Next Instruments looking to have the CropScan factory fitted to combines in the future.

“The only other direct measurement of nitrogen is soil testing and that is very inefficient due to the high cost and low density,” said Phil. 

“Whereas soil testing might sample five individual sites across an area and perhaps give you an average, it does not give you rich data about variation in the field.”

For more information on Next Instruments (trading as CropScanAg) visit the AgriFutures growAG. platform here.

Explore, find and connect with relevant research projects and innovation opportunities from across Australia’s agrifood innovation system at To list a research project, commercialisation opportunity or organisation, please visit


^This investment opportunity is only for professional and sophisticated investors as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The content of this opportunity is intended for use by persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments and must not be acted or relied upon by any other person including, without limitation, retail clients.

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