If you are concerned with the grain harvested from your fields due to the flooding experienced in September, PDA is offering free sample testing for major contaminents. Please follew the procedure below and send to the address at the bottom of this blog.
Grain Sampling Procedures
(These sampling guidelines are adapted from “Practical Procedures For Sampling Grain”, from USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).)
It is recommended that grain sampling and shipping be completed by a PSU County Extension Agent if available. Also, your feed nutrionist may be able to offer support with the collection and shipping of the grain samples.
Sampling is an essential part of the inspection process and is critical to the accuracy of the final grade. If the sample is not representative of the lot, the inspection result will not reflect the true quality of the lot.
Basic Principles of Obtaining a GOOD sample:
• Collect several samples from different areas of the lot.
• Combine these samples to form a single sample.
• Consider the size of the sample needed for analysis.
• Completely mix or blend the final sample.
Use a container (a large coffee can will work) to sample grain from a moving stream of grain. Tailgate sampling will draw a reasonably representative sample, as grain is loaded/unloaded from a combine to a truck/wagon or from a truck/wagon to a bin.
To Obtain A GOOD Sample With A Tailgate Sampler:
• Let the grain flow from the carrier (truck, combine, bin) for a few seconds before taking your first sample. Avoid sampling the last few bushels flowing out of the container.
• Hold the sampling device so that it is at one side of the grain stream.
• Pull the tailgate sampler through the grain stream in a continuous motion.
• Empty each sample into a clean, dry container.
• Take a minimum of three samples per carrier. More samples will yield a more representative composite sample.
A hand probe is the only effective method of obtaining a representative sample from grain at rest in a truck bin or other container. There are two types of hand probes - a compartmented probe and an open-throat probe. The open-throat probe does not have compartments inside. This feature allows the sample to be poured directly from the probe into a sample container. The open-throat probe tends to draw more grain from the top portion of the lot. Results of the open-throat probe will differ from that of a sample drawn with a compartmented probe. Hand probes come in 5’, 6,’ 8’, 10’, and 12’ lengths. The sample is more representative of the lot if the probe reaches the bottom of the carrier.
To Obtain A GOOD Sample With A Hand Probe:
• Determine the locations in the container to be probed. Avoid sampling in the spout stream.
• With the slots on the probe closed, insert the probe at a slight angle (10 degrees).
• With the slots facing upward, open the probe and move it up and down in two short motions to fill the compartments.
• Close the probe, withdraw it from the grain and empty the grain onto a canvass or trough that is slightly longer than the probe you are using. If you are using an open-throat probe, pour the grain from the open end of the probe directly into a clean, dry container.
While drawing the sample, observe the general condition of the grain and check for objectionable odors, insect infestation, large stones, pieces of metal or glass and any other potentially harmful conditions.
****It is imperative to draw a representative sample and get as accurate of an inspection as possible. The condition of stored grain can change depending on the conditions of the storage area and the quality factors of the stored grain. ****
The Department will offer grain testing, at no charge, to help producers, not covered by crop insurance, who choose to make determinations on grain quality for harvesting and feed potential and assess whether it is likely that any of the listed contaminants are present in flood affected field crops.
Grain samples submitted for testing must meet the following criteria:
- Grain samples should be obtained by collecting a representative 6 - 10 pound sample of the grain from a bin or truck using established procedures (see guidelines above). Grain should be cleaned and dried. Ideally, samples should represent grain lots of 10,000 bushels or less.
- Samples should be submitted to the laboratory in a paper bag, so condensation does not occur, along with the name, address, and telephone number of the grain producer. The lot of grain that was sampled should also be identified.
- Test results should be available to the producer in approximately 7-10 days from receipt of sample, dependent on the findings. Positive results in any category may require additional testing and increase the turnaround time for analytical results.
- Based on the test results, producers can then voluntarily advise the Department of their intentions regarding the use, non-use, incorporation, composting, handling, storage, or other disposition of the grain.
Samples should be submitted to the attention of: Michael Hydock, Chief; Division of Lab Section, Bureau of Food Safety, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110