Participants in public corn and soybean yield trials and in other public research efforts or collaborations can have grain quality analysis done at the Iowa State University Grain Quality Lab, through the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative. There is no cost other than shipment or delivery of your grain samples to the ISU Grain Quality Lab.
The corn quality factors included in the analysis are moisture, test weight protein, oil, starch, density, and a ranking of estimated ethanol yield. Soybean quality factors analyzed are moisture, protein, oil, and fiber (plus linolenic acid and saturated fats for modified fatty acid soybeans). "This is an excellent way to compare end-use quality for genetic trials and other field studies," says Charles Hurburgh, who is in charge of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative Management Team and an ISU professor of ag engineering.
Users must ship or deliver samples to the ISU Grain Quality Lab. The data will be returned electronically and as a hard copy if desired. "We normally organize data in a standard format that contains yield and agronomic factors as well as the quality data," says Hurburgh. "Yield adjustment for check strips will be made if data is available."
Distribution of the data is up to the participant. "We will not distribute further unless you ask," says Hurburgh. "We have provision for posting yield trial data on the Grain Quality Initiative Web site. There will be a place to indicate if you want this posting. Research data will be provided only to the researcher involved. Data will be completed within two weeks of receiving the samples."
How to participate in grain testing program
1. Collect a one-quart (or more) sample from each plot and seal in thick, self-sealing plastic bags only. IGQI will provide Hefty freezer bags if desired. Do not use paper or sandwich bags.
2. Identify each plot/sample clearly, preferably with an all-numeric code. We can provide barcode labels for sample identification, with whatever coding is desired, and can also provide label cards and plot data sheets. Please provide an email address for results.
3. Please include with the samples a list of the plot order and yield if available. It is recommended that you fill out cards and other information before you begin harvesting.
4. Wet grain spoils quickly. Do not hold the samples! Send them in quickly!
5. Ship or deliver immediately to: ISU Grain Quality Lab, Attn: Glen Rippke, 1547 Food Sciences Bldg., Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1061
Consider the benefits of participation
This is an opportunity to increase understanding of end-user quality traits as they apply to specific areas or treatments. For example, in corn, the combination of starch (high), protein (lower) and density (fairly soft) indicates possible advantages to ethanol producers.
Ethanol yield is increasingly important in the development of corn hybrids, says Hurburgh. Likewise, higher protein and harder texture is better suited to animal feeding, for both nutritional and particle size (grinding) uniformity reasons. For soybeans, certain processors are already paying some premiums for specific levels of protein and oil.
There is an economic gain to be captured if variety, regional and agronomic practice knowledge can identify potential premium grains without requiring complex testing or identity preservation procedure. "As we try harder to increase yield in today's market climate, an understanding of any related quality changes is needed," he says.
The IGQI has offered the free testing program for the past several years. "We hope that this program will be useful, and will assist in creating new opportunities for corn and soybean farmers," says Hurburgh. "We have improved handling and turnaround process in response to the demand of the people who have been using our program."
If you have questions or would like to participate, contact one of the following: Glen Rippke at 515-294-5387 or [email protected]; Lindsey Shultz at [email protected]; or Charles Hurburgh at 515-294-8629 or [email protected].