Assessment of three commercial automatic grain samplers fitted to front loader buckets


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 November 2005 - 31 March 2006
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£17,450 from HGCA (Project No. 3206).
Project leader:
JD Knight1 and R Wilkin2 1 Imperial College of Science and Technology, South Kensington Campus, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ 2 Universal Cereal Services, 39 Denham Lane, Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross Buckinghamshire SL9 0EP



About this project


The objective of the work was to test and compare samples collected with three currently-available bucket-mounted samplers during grain loading with samples collected by manual and automated spear sampling of the loaded lorry.

Six batches of wheat and four batches of barley samples were collected at ten sites: over a six month period.  The procedure for sampling was to load a lorry with the bucket fitted with a sampler, collect the sample from the sampler, then to sample the loaded lorry either at the farm with a manual spear or at the recipient's site using their normal methodology.  At least four lorry-loads were sampled on each occasion.
Both the front-loader and lorry samples were tested by the recipient or by an independent laboratory or, in some cases, by both.  All samples were tested for moisture, screenings and specific weight whilst barley was tested for nitrogen and wheat for protein and hardness.  Results from each set of experiments were analysed to test for any differences between the bucket sampling and the alternative method being used.

All three of the automatic bucket samplers tested worked well and appeared to provide a consistent way of taking out-loading grain samples. None of them caused any delay in the loading process.  The automatic bucket sampler provided samples of grain that were comparable with samples collected from lorries following current best practice recommendations. However, the sample collected was not always of sufficient size to allow it to be divided into two parts, one of which could be retained by the seller and the other sent with the load to the buyer. 

It is concluded that the adoption of automatic bucket samplers could save time and money for buyers and sellers, as well as offering a standard sample that has a high probability of being representative.