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9/1/2008 - 9/7/2008

Time to Participate in 2008 Grain Quality Analysis Program

By Charles R. Hurburgh, Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering

Participants in public corn and soybean yield trials and in other public research efforts or collaborations can have grain quality analysis done at the Iowa State University Grain Quality Lab, through the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative (IGQI).

The corn quality factors included in the analysis are moisture, test weight protein, oil, starch, density, and a ranking of estimated ethanol yield. Soybean quality factors analyzed are moisture, protein, oil, and fiber (plus linolenic acid and saturated fats for modified fatty acid soybeans). This is an excellent way to compare end use quality for genetic trials and other field studies.

Users must ship or deliver samples to the ISU Grain Quality Lab. The data will be returned electronically and as a hard copy if desired. We normally organize data in a standard format that contains yield and agronomic factors as well as the quality data. Yield adjustment for check strips will be made if data is available.

Distribution of the data is up to the participant; we will not distribute further unless you ask. We have provision for posting yield trial data on the Grain Quality Initiative website; there will be a place to indicate if you want this posting. Research data will be provided only to the researcher involved. Data will be completed within two weeks of receiving the samples.


How to Participate
1. Collect a one-quart (or more) sample from each plot and seal in thick, self-sealing plastic bags only. We will provide Hefty freezer bags if desired. Do not use paper or sandwich bags.

2. Identify each plot/sample clearly, preferably with an all-numeric code. We can provide barcode labels for sample identification, with whatever coding is desired, and can also provide label cards and plot data sheets. Please provide an email address for results.

3. Please include with the samples a list of the plot order and yield if available. It is recommended that you fill out cards and other information before you begin harvesting.

4. Wet grain spoils quickly. Do not hold the samples! Send them in quickly!

5. Ship or deliver immediately to:
ISU Grain Quality Lab, Attn: Glen Rippke, 1547 Food Sciences Bldg., Iowa State University, Ames, IA  50011-1061


Benefits of Participation
This is an opportunity to increase understanding of end user quality traits as they apply to specific areas or treatments. For example, in corn, the combination of starch (high), protein (lower) and density (fairly soft) indicates possible advantages to ethanol producers.

Ethanol yield is increasingly important in the development of corn hybrids. Likewise, higher protein and harder texture is better suited to animal feeding, for both nutritional and particle size (grinding) uniformity reasons. 

For soybeans, certain processors are already paying some premiums for specific levels of protein and oil. There is an economic gain to be captured if variety, regional and agronomic practice knowledge can identify potential premium grains without requiring a complex testing or identity preservation procedure. 

We hope that this program will be useful, and will assist in creating new opportunities. We have improved handling and turnaround process in response to your demand.


If you have questions or would like to participate, contact one of the following: Glen R. Rippke at (515) 294-5387 or;  Lindsey Shultz at; Dr. Charles R. Hurburgh at (515) 294-8629 or



Charles R. Hurburgh, Jr. is professor-in-charge of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative Management Team and professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University.

Diplodia Ear Rot being Reported in Iowa

Alison Robertson and Fanny Iriarte, Department of Plant Pathology

Ear and stalk rots are likely to become prevalent in Iowa as the growing season draws to a close. In the past week, we have had a few reports of Diplodia ear rot from the northeast, central and southeastern parts of the state. This ear rot is not as common as Fusarium or Gibberella ear rot in Iowa.

Diplodia ear rot is caused by the fungus Stenocarpella maydis (Diplodia maydis).  The same fungus also causes Diplodia stalk rot. The fungus survives in corn residue and seed, and tends to be of a problem in corn following corn fields. 

Diplodia ear rot is favored by cool, wet weather during grain fill. Infection occurs through the silks and/or ear shank, or via the base of the husks of the ear. 

Symptoms of Diplodia ear rot can be striking – a bleached ear leaf and husk (Figure 1).  When the husk is peeled back, a dense white to grayish white mold which starts at the base of the ear is visibly growing between the kernels. Oftentimes the husks of the ear are difficult to remove and appear “glued” to the ear by the mold. Very small, black fruiting bodies can be found scattered on husks or embedded in cob tissues and kernels (Figure 2).

Although S. maydis does not appear to produce mycotoxins in the grain under typical Iowa field conditions, infected kernels are lightweight and have reduced nutritional value. Damage caused by Diplodia ear rot is usually limited to the field, but the pathogen can be a problem in storage if grain moisture is 20 percent or above.

Options for managing Diplodia ear rot are limited. Rotation out of corn is recommended since the fungus survives in residue.  Hybrids do differ in their susceptibility to Diplodia so talk with your seed dealer.

diplodia ear rot

Figure 1. A bleached leaf is associated with Diplodia ear rot.  Alison Robertson.



diplodia in corn

Figure 2.  Small, black fruiting bodies found scattered on husks are characteristic signs of Diplodia ear rot.  Alison Robertson.




Alison Robertson is an assistant professor of plant pathology with research and extension responsibilities in field crop diseases. Fanny Iriarte is a pathologist in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic

No-Tillage Soybean Production Field Days Next Week

By Palle Pedersen, Department of Agronomy

Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) will host three field days on Sept. 8-10, highlighting soybean production under no-tillage conditions with emphasis on agronomic decisions in a no-till versus conventional tillage system. 

While the adoption rate of no-tillage practices in the northern Corn Belt has been slow compared to other parts of the world, it will likely increase in the future because of high diesel prices. However, no-tillage will not work consistently on all soil types in Iowa without yield loss, compared to a conventional tillage system.  A key will be site-specific knowledge of the no-tillage system’s potential benefits.

The field days are part of a large no-tillage project that was initiated in 2007 and funded by the soybean checkoff through ISA. The overall goal is to develop management recommendations for Iowa growers when producing soybeans in no-tillage conditions. The study was initiated at six locations across the state to determine how various soil types influence no-tillage recommendations.

The events will be held at the following locations:

On Sept. 8 the field day will be part of an All in a Day’s Work event for District 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dean Coleman farm at Humboldt.  Along with Pedersen’s presentation, ISU’s Greg Tylka will talk about soybean cyst nematodes and ISA’s Heath Ellison will discuss energy planning. ISA’s state lobbyist Jill Altringer will visit with the group over lunch, which will be provided. To get to the Coleman farm from Highway 3 in Humboldt, take Highway 169 south to the four-way stop at the high school and turn west on 4th Street SW, which is also C44. Go four and a half miles west on the C44 blacktop. The farm is on the south side of the road.

The Sept. 9 event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bruce Rusk Farm at Lynn Grove. From Highway 71, go west on Highway 10 for approximately two miles. Then go north approximately one mile on 180 Avenue, which is a gravel road. The field is located across from a grain bin site. Along with Pedersen’s presentation local growers will also share their knowledge about no-tillage production systems.

The Sept. 10 field day will be held from 6 to 7:30 p,m. at the Keith De Bruin farm, 1925 205 St., Oskaloosa. The directions from Highway 163 are as follows: go east on 220 Street, then north on Independence and turn east on 210 Street and finally north on Jewel. From Highway 63 go west on 210 Street and north on Jewel. The farm is at the T-intersection of Jewel and 205 Street.

For more information e-mail or call 515-290-3212.



Palle Pedersen is an assistant professor of agronomy with research and extension responsibilities in soybean production.

This article was published originally on 9/8/2008 The information contained within the article may or may not be up to date depending on when you are accessing the information.

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