Call for Grain Samples, 2015

With funding from the Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) we started a project in 2014 to try to get a better idea for how much nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are contained in harvested grain of corn, soybean, and wheat.

In 2014 we tried to get yield level for each sampled field in order to see if yield level affects nutrient content. We found that it did not, and so we dropped the requirement to include yield level (will leave it as an option) and ask only for the county in which the sampled field was located.

We already collected wheat samples for this year, but could use some more from stored grain if that’s available. We also have found a source to get most of the soybean samples we need, though we would be happy to take a few more samples from those who can provide them.

Our main need now is for corn grain samples from across Illinois from the crop being harvested this fall. We request that only one sample be taken from a given field.

Here’s how this works:

  1. Before, during, or (for stored grain) after harvest, send an email to to request a mailer. The email only needs to list the cooperator’s name, mailing address, and how many samples of what grain (wheat, corn, or soybean) are being collected. If the mailing address is in a different county than the field the sample comes from, please indicate what county the sample(s) will be from.
  2. We will immediately send pre-paid mailers to the cooperator. The mailer will include plastic sample bags each with a label containing the cooperator’s name (optional for those who want to receive results) and county. It will have a blank to fill in the yield level (estimated or measured) of the field, but that will be optional this year.
  3. The sample bag is sized to hold about 6-8 oz. of grain, which is all we need. The grain should be dry (at or close to standard moisture) so it keeps well during shipping. Put the bag with grain into the mailer and drop it into the US mail. It will be addressed to go to the UI and we’ll get samples analyzed.

Elevators are a place where samples can be gathered efficiently. We will try to contact elevators directly; if you represent an elevator you can let us know how many corn samples you will be able to collect. With corn maturing rapidly early in September this year, some probe samples should come in dry enough to send, though they may need drying if they’re above 16-17%.

Please email me if you have any questions about this.