Fall Harvest 2019 Poses Grain Quality Challenges
Nov 15, 2019

Tom Dahl, president of the American Association of Grain Inspection and Weighing Agencies (AAGIWA), said the quality challenges may vary by region.  Some may be seeing weathered grain while others may be seeing green or immature grains.  Or, it could be frost damaged kernels, mold or fungus issues.  Any of these create marketing issues for producers.  For users, whether they are processors, feeders, or millers, it is a matter of understanding the quality they are receiving so it can be used for its best purpose. 
Central to these challenges is accurately measuring the crop quality.  Both buyers and sellers can benefit from clearly understanding the quality of the grain or oilseeds they are handling. 
Dahl said many have already seen concerns over test weight in corn; accurate and repeatable test weight results require consistent testing procedures, he commented.  
According to Dahl, there will be issues when poor quality grain is being put into storage for a longer period than normal.   Mycotoxins, for example, typically only become worse during storage when conditions are already questionable.  Producers and users need to understand that these poor quality conditions can affect storability and long-term quality condition.    A number of research papers from Iowa State University provide good information on these topics.   
Producers and users can also benefit by making sure the testing technology being used is the most up-to-date.  Dahl cautioned that the old 2 Mhz corn moisture meters are still in use in many grain regions.    There is an issue of “high moisture rebound” that can occur with the old technology.  The newer, 149 Mhz moisture meters have reduced or eliminated that problem.  He said that all Official Grain Inspection Agencies use this new technology.   
Even the proper sampling methods can have a huge impact when grain loads have varied quality issues.    Dahl noted that farmers often will be harvesting right through wet spots and variable maturity.   A grain quality sample that is not representative of the entire load may only mask the poor grain conditions that end up in storage. 
Consistent, accurate test results can be best assured through using an Official Grain Inspection Agency.  These are agencies supervised by USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service. 
Dahl said when a user chooses an Official Grain Inspection Agency the user will receive: • The most accurate inspection system, monitored daily by USDA to ensure everyone with the official system across the country provides consistent results, ensuring grades hold-up every day. • The only inspection system with all equipment and personnel aligned to USDA’s central grain quality reference point.  Official Inspection Agency equipment and personnel are the only ones aligned to USDA’s central reference point at the National Grain Center (NGC).  The NGC is the sought out reference for grain 

quality tests both in the U.S. and internationally.  Only Official Inspection brings that confidence to your facility. • The only inspection organizations that can issue a certificate backed by the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA).  USDA certificates are considered prima facie evidence in all courts of law providing the user with the legal backing no other certificate can. • Unbiased decisions.  By law, official agencies can have no interest in grain companies or grain related companies.