The collection of samples of grain: An assessment of current methods and problems


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 December 1994 - 31 January 1995
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£4380 from HGCA (Project no 0015/01/94)
Project leader:
R Wilkin and J Knight, Imperial College at Silwood Park



About this project



This report summarises the collection of information about grain sampling practices used by farmers, storekeepers and end users of grain. The objectives were:

. To obtain information on current grain sampling practices and the equipment used.

. To record the views of participants on the reliability of such methods and the acceptability of the results.

. To present the information to a panel of representatives from the main interested parties.

. To use the information collected in conjunction with the views of the panel to highlight problems with the current methods and propose research to overcome these problems.

One hundred and forty completed questionnaires covering all areas of the industry were returned. The bulk of sampling is done to ascertain grain quality and to monitor for storage problems. There appears to be little standardisation in the methods used to sample grain both from lorries and within stores. There is much less variation in the equipment used with hand spears, hand scoops, vacuum samplers and automatic lorry probes being the most common types. Most operators sampled from a variety of positions and depths within a bulk of grain with a few sampling only from a single depth.

Most respondents were satisfied with the accuracy of their own sampling but less confident in those of their suppliers and purchasers. A large proportion of replies indicated that disagreements over results was common although serious disagreement was rare.

Different commodities presented different sampling problems with peas and beans proving to be the most difficult. The detection of pests and the measurement of moisture were identified as the two most difficult quality tests to carry out. More than a quarter of all respondents felt that they did not have sufficient information on sampling.

As a result of discussions with the panel, a number of possible options for further research and development on grain sampling were suggested.