Q2’18 Tech Tip from EnviroLogix Tech Support
Getting ready for the busy season means planning for how to receive grain. Let’s examine the statistics of grain sampling. When you’re testing a truck or a barge, you unfortunately can’t test every kernel or bean. When you’re testing inbound corn or beans, the best outcome you can have is a fair reading for each particular truck. The goal is for the sample you take to test to be as close as possible to a representation of the truck’s true score. When we accomplish this, the farmer gets their well-deserved premium for the hard work of growing a quality crop, and you can be confident the material you’re moving downstream is of the highest quality and satisfies your customers’ needs. If there are low levels of GMOs or mycotoxins present on that truck, you want to sample enough grain, and from enough places on the truck, to find them.
So, how do we find low levels of GMOs or mycotoxins? In sampling, size matters! If you only sample a small amount from only one corner of the shipment, there’s a very good chance you won’t find them. You’re better off looking at grain from each corner, and even the middle of the shipment. When you’re sampling a truck, take as large a sample as you can reasonably handle. We suggest a 3 to 4-pound sample. If you always look for GMOs or mycotoxins in the same spot in every shipment, you’re far less likely to find them. Make sure you are probing 3 to 7 different spots with your hydraulic probe. See the diagram at right for examples.
Push the probe to the bottom, open it, and draw up. To the same point you want to mix that 3 to 4-pound sample as much as possible. Put the sample over a divider and grind as much as is practical in your probe stand (the GIPSA Sampling handbook can be found here).
Weigh out the sample you will test, and with this fair sampling, you can be more confident you’re providing the best answer possible for both your company, and for the farmer. If the sample is close to cutoff (for example, a 1.1% where your cutoff is 1%), and you have the time, take a second sample from your collected corn or beans, regrind, and retest. Go with the average score of the two tests (not the better of the two scores). The best way to keep our growers happy, and to continue providing product for Identity Preservation programs, is to sample fairly and to properly detect GMOs or mycotoxins when they can be found.
Download a primer for sampling grain from a flat-bottom truck.
Proper Pipette Position
The best way to be fair in your testing is to perform the protocol as accurately as possible. When using your mini-pipette, make sure you hold it plumb vertically.
Tipping to the side can cause the liquid to roll back into the pipette, further reducing your accuracy and quality of testing.
If you ever have any questions, or just want to talk to someone about your testing, Tech Service is here for you.
Give us a call at (866)408-4597 X 2, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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