how to measure corn test weight with a scale



Corn test weight is a crucial factor in determining the quality and value of corn. It is a measure of the weight of a specific volume of corn and serves as an indicator of its density and starch content. Farmers, grain elevators, and other stakeholders in the agriculture industry need to accurately measure corn test weight to ensure fair transactions and make informed decisions. One of the most reliable methods of measuring corn test weight is by using a scale. In this article, we will delve into the process of measuring corn test weight with a scale and discuss its significance in the industry.

The Importance of Measuring Corn Test Weight

Measuring corn test weight is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps determine the value of corn. A higher test weight indicates a denser and more nutritious grain, which is desirable for animal feed and food processing industries. Farmers can negotiate better prices for their corn based on higher test weight values.

Additionally, corn test weight is an indicator of grain quality. It provides insights into the overall health and vitality of the corn. Lower test weight may suggest lower starch content, which affects its potential for ethanol production. By regularly measuring corn test weight, farmers can make adjustments to their cultivation practices and improve the quality of their harvest.

Finally, corn test weight is often used as a measure of yield. By accurately measuring the weight of a known volume of corn, it becomes possible to estimate the total weight of the harvest per acre. This information enables farmers to plan effectively, assess crop performance, and make informed decisions for future cultivation seasons.

Now, let's explore the process of measuring corn test weight using a scale.

Preparing the Scale and Equipment

Before measuring corn test weight, it is crucial to ensure that the scale and other equipment are properly prepared. Here's what you need to do:

1. Inspect the Scale

Start by inspecting the scale to ensure it is clean, free from debris, and properly calibrated. Make sure the scale is capable of accurately measuring small differences in weight, as corn test weight values can vary by a few pounds per bushel.

2. Gather the Necessary Equipment

Aside from the scale, you'll need a container, such as a bucket or bag, to hold the corn sample. Ensure that the container is clean and dry, as any moisture or impurities can affect the accuracy of the measurement. You may also want to have a scoop or a small shovel to transfer the corn into the container.

Collecting the Corn Sample

To accurately measure corn test weight, you must collect a representative sample that reflects the overall quality of the corn. Here's how to do it:

1. Select a Representative Area

Choose a location in the cornfield that represents the entire crop. Avoid areas that may have been affected by extreme conditions, such as drought or excessive rainfall, as they may skew the test weight results.

2. Randomly Collect Ears of Corn

Randomly select several ears of corn from various plants within the chosen area. It's important to collect a diverse set of samples to obtain an accurate representation of the crop. Aim for a minimum of 10 ears of corn, but more would provide better precision.

3. Shuck the Corn

Remove the husks from each ear of corn to expose the kernels. Ensure that the kernels are clean and free from any foreign substances that could interfere with the measurement.

4. Collect the Kernels

Using a scoop or small shovel, gently collect the kernels from each ear of corn. Make sure to avoid touching the kernels with your bare hands to prevent oil transfer, which might also affect the measurement.

5. Combine the Kernels

Transfer the collected kernels into the clean and dry container. Mix them thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of kernels from the different sampled ears. This step is crucial for an accurate measurement.

Weighing the Corn Sample

Now that you have your representative corn sample, it's time to weigh it using the scale. This process will provide you with the necessary data to calculate the test weight. Follow these steps:

1. Tare the Scale

Place an empty container on the scale and press the tare button or adjust the scale to zero. This action subtracts the weight of the container, ensuring that only the weight of the corn will be measured.

2. Pour the Corn into the Container

Gently pour the corn sample into the container on the scale. Be cautious not to spill any kernels, as it could affect the accuracy of the measurement. Allow the scale to stabilize and display the weight of the corn.

3. Record the Weight

Once the scale stabilizes, record the weight shown on the display. Ensure that you read the weight accurately to avoid errors in subsequent calculations.

Calculating Corn Test Weight

To calculate the corn test weight, you need to know the weight of the corn sample and the volume it occupies. Here's how to do it:

1. Measure the Volume of the Corn

Take the filled container and pour the corn into a grain weight counter unit or a calibrated measure. Measure the volume in bushels. It is essential to convert the weight to bushels for consistent comparisons.

2. Convert the Weight to Bushels

To convert the weight of the corn sample from pounds to bushels, divide the weight by the test weight standard. The test weight standard can vary depending on location and corn type. The most common standard is 56 pounds per bushel. For example, if the weight of the corn sample is 56 pounds, the calculation would be 56 pounds divided by 56 pounds per bushel, yielding 1 bushel.

3. Calculate the Test Weight

To obtain the test weight per bushel, divide the weight of the corn sample in pounds by the volume measured in bushels. For instance, if the weight is 56 pounds and the volume is 1 bushel, the test weight would be 56 pounds divided by 1 bushel, resulting in a test weight of 56 pounds per bushel.

Interpreting Test Weight Results

Now that you've measured and calculated the corn test weight, it's crucial to understand its implications. Here's what different test weight ranges typically indicate:

1. High Test Weight (Above 58 pounds per bushel):

- This indicates high-density corn with a significant amount of starch. It is desirable for animal feed and food processing industries.

- High test weight may be an indicator of well-managed crops with optimal nutrient availability, adequate water, and appropriate planting density.

2. Acceptable Test Weight (55 to 58 pounds per bushel):

- Falls within the acceptable range for most corn varieties.

- While not as dense as high-test-weight corn, it is still considered viable for various agricultural purposes.

3. Below-Average Test Weight (52 to 55 pounds per bushel):

- Low-density corn with potentially lower starch content.

- May indicate suboptimal growing conditions, inadequate nutrient availability, water stress, or other factors affecting crop health.

4. Poor Test Weight (Below 52 pounds per bushel):

- Indicates below-average density and lower starch content.

- Can be a consequence of severe stress, inadequate nutrient availability, pest infestation, or other factors that significantly impact crop health.


Measuring corn test weight accurately is vital for farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture industry. It helps determine the value, quality, and potential yield of corn crops. By following the process of collecting a representative sample, weighing it with a scale, and calculating the test weight, farmers can gain valuable insights into their corn's density and starch content. This information empowers them to make informed decisions regarding pricing, cultivation practices, and overall crop management strategies. Remember, corn test weight serves as a valuable tool in optimizing yields, ensuring grain quality, and maximizing profitability in the corn industry.


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