ISU Grain Quality Lab

emily using testing equipmentGrain quality analysis has become increasingly more important. The possibility for tailoring grain quality to match individual user needs is now recognized by producers, handlers, and seedsmen. Marketing chains for products such as high-oil corn and soybeans are paying significant premiums. Livestock feeding operations in many areas are now screening raw grain ingredients for total protein or improved amino acid profile (protein quality).

The ISU Grain Quality Laboratory provides instrumental analysis of chemical and physical properties of grain and other agricultural products. The services are intended to support high-throughput genetic evaluations, surveys of grain quality, and other large-scale monitoring operations. The lab also calibrates various types of instruments for manufacturers and users. Chemical composition is measured with a non-destructive, near-infrared (NIRS) analyzer

Crop-specific tests:

  • Corn: Moisture, protein, oil, starch and density. Ethanol yield and feed value can be calculated from the NIR results.
  • Soybeans: Moisture, protein, oil, fiber, total saturates and linolenic acid. Meal and oil processed value (EPV) can be calculated from the NIR results.
  • Wheat: Moisture, protein
  • Soybean meal: Moisture, protein, oil and fiber.
  • Distillers grain: Moisture, protein, oil and fiber.

Instruments in the grain quality lab

General Tests

  • Seed weight (g/1000 seeds) 
  • Test weight
  • Specific gravity (measure of hardness) by nitrogen displacement
  • Other contracted services

We have coordinating agreements for other grain testing services. These include amino acid profiles, germination tests, pilot-scale processing runs, and U.S. grade factors. Details of all tests are available upon request. We reserve the right to use submitted samples internally for checking calibration accuracy and for method development. Samples can be returned if desired. 

The ISU Grain Quality Lab also offers custom methods development services, such as for calibration of new near-infrared models or for new properties or different products. 

Strict confidentiality of sample and analysis data is maintained. Services are for all grains and are priced on a per sample basis, unless noted. Ask about sample sizes and prices for combined or grouped tests.

Price List (2023-2024)

Sample Analysis Form
corn in moisture test dishes

Prices effective for 2023-2024 year.

Additional fees apply for special conditions, such as sample cleaning, sample containers, fax or rush data. Call the facility for barcodes, sample containers, sample labels and additional information. *ALL PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE


1029 North University Blvd
3165 NSRIC
Ames, IA 50011-3311
Dr. Charles R. Hurburgh: – (515) 294-8629
Connie Hardy: – (515) 450-8026



Laboratory and Services