A method and apparatus is provided for monitoring a flow path having plurality of different solid components flowing therethrough. For example, in the harvesting of a plant material, many factors surrounding the threshing, separating or cleaning of the plant material and may lead to the inadvertent inclusion of the component being selectively harvested with residual plant materials being discharged or otherwise processed. In accordance with the present invention the detection of the selectively harvested component within residual materials may include the monitoring of a flow path of such residual materials by, for example, directing an excitation signal toward of flow path of material and then detecting a signal initiated by the presence of the selectively harvested component responsive to the excitation signal. The detected signal may be used to determine the presence or absence of a selected plant component within the flow path of residual materials.
 The present invention was made under CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) CNHCRADA99-CR-07 between CNH Global N.V. and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory operated for the United States Department of Energy. The Federal Government has certain rights in this invention.