Three Key Reasons to Test Your Grain

Earlier this week, FarmLead unveiled

The new site helps level the playing field for independent producers across North America. Now, farmers can access to the same cutting-edge testing facilities of large-scale agricultural firms, and get the lowest price possible to test their grain.

But access and low prices are not the most important benefits of grain testing.

The true benefits of grain testing – why it truly matters to farmers’ operations – are found in the gritty details of deals we’ve seen take place in the competitive world of grain trade. agribusiness.

It turns out that the slightest incorrect specification can cost you money.

Let me show you what I’m talking about and how you can make more money for your grain.

Wrong Specs, Wrong Price

At FarmLead, we regularly have conversations with grain buyers around North America. There are over 500 different companies verified to buy grain on the FarmLead Marketplace.

Recently, we had a conversation with a barley buyer who was looking to purchase malt to fill their program.

But for someone who has a few excess tonnes to sell… What could hold up a deal?

You might not You probably know this, but grain buyers have very detailed specifications for the commodities that they want to purchase.

For this malt buyer, the list was extensive.

  • The wanted bright or light gold colored malting barley.
  • The want test weight of a minimum of 60 KG/HL or 289 grams per half a liter.
  • Moisture percentage had a minimum of 13.5%
  • Protein levels had to fall between 10.5% and 13.5%.
  • There were specifics on plump kernels and thin kernels.
  • Skinned and broken barley could only comprise a maximum percentage of the tonnage.
  • Germination energy and capacity had pinpoint expectations.
  • Mold and mildew maximums were very low.
  • There were also key specifications on odor, extraneous materials, variety purity, sprout damage and more.

The key here is that buyers have hard stops on the specifications. There are no exemptions, as these specs are key to the inputs and quality of their end products.

The only way to know if you grain meets the specifications of these buyers is to get your grain tested and verified. Providing this data up front improves the marketability of your grain and will certainly capture the attention of buyers.

Grain Buyers Will Pay More for Quality

In June, we completed a dive into the state of the winter wheat crop and how tight the spring wheat market had become. At the time South Dakota farmer Chet Edinger pointed out that buyers within 40 miles of each other.

Here was Edinger’s Tweet:

“2 elevators 40 miles apart. 1 is paying $.10 per 1/5 protein prem the other is $.04 per 1/5. $.60/bu on 14 pro ‪#shoparound.”

The first elevator paid a premium of $0.10 for every extra 1/5% in protein.

The second paid $0.04 per 1/5% in protein.

That is a $0.30 difference for every percentage point of protein between the two elevators. This amount could be a lot of money if you can strike a deal with the first elevator.

Edinger’s message is not unique in the market. In conversations with buyers, we regularly see higher premiums for higher quality.

But how does a wheat farmer know the exact percentage of protein quality unless you have the exact numbers to begin shopping around your grain?

The most reliable way is to test your grain…

Market Your Grain on Your Terms

But perhaps one of the most important reasons to get your grain testing done is one you might not expect.

You see, if you have your grain specifications – and we’re talking every little specification that can set you apart from other farmers – you establish “seller power” in the market.

With a complete list of your specifications, you can post your grain on and wait for buyers to come to you. Instead of submitting samples to elevators and spending hours on the phone trying to unload that extra bin of grain, you can post your specifications on the FarmLead sight and gain access to hundreds of financially verified buyers.

Buyers from all around North America have individual needs and expectations. So, if you have details of your grain available, they can start negotiating a deal if you meet their needs.

As Courtney Boryski, a grain trader with Hansen-Mueller, told us,  if farmers have high-quality protein in any market, particularly that meet her unique specifications, she’s willing to explore a deal. Knowing your specifications is the only way to attract the attention of buyers. 

How to Get Started is the easiest way to get access to grain testing labs all across Canada and ensure that you can obtain detailed insight into the quality of your grain. With 24 hour access, you can schedule your grain test, submit your sample, and receive your custom results via email quickly and securely.

Go to and get to know your grain today.



About the Author
Garrett Baldwin

Garrett Baldwin is a content strategist and editor at FarmLead. He covers the global grain markets and public policy issues related to the agricultural industry. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from The Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University.

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