what is good test weight for corn


Have you ever wondered what is considered a good test weight for corn?

Corn is one of the most widely grown crops in the world and is a staple in many diets. Test weight is an important parameter used to determine the quality and value of corn. It is a measure of the weight of a given volume of corn and serves as an indicator of density and maturity. In this article, we will explore what test weight is, why it matters, and what is considered a good test weight for corn. So, if you're curious about corn and its quality, keep on reading!

What is Test Weight?

Test weight refers to the weight of a bushel of corn and is commonly expressed in pounds. A bushel is a unit of measurement used to quantify volume. In the United States, a bushel is equivalent to 56 pounds of corn. Test weight is determined by weighing a specific volume of corn, typically a bushel, and comparing it to the standard weight of a bushel. The standard weight varies depending on the country and location.

Why Does Test Weight Matter?

Test weight is an important factor in evaluating the quality and value of corn. It provides valuable information about the density, maturity, and condition of the crop. Higher test weights are generally associated with denser kernels, which indicates a higher proportion of dry matter and less moisture content. Dense kernels are less prone to damage during handling and have a greater resistance to breakage.

Farmers and buyers use test weight as an indicator of the overall quality of corn. It affects the price farmers receive for their crop and the market price for buyers. Corn with a higher test weight often commands a premium price due to its better processing characteristics and increased nutritional value. Additionally, test weight influences the amount of corn that can be stored in a given space.

Factors Affecting Test Weight

Test weight can vary depending on a variety of factors. Understanding these factors is crucial in optimizing corn production and maximizing the value of the crop. Here are some key factors that influence test weight:

1. Genetics

The genetic makeup of a corn variety plays a significant role in determining its test weight potential. Different hybrids have varying abilities to convert resources into dry matter, affecting the overall test weight. Genetic selection can be used to develop hybrids with desirable test weight characteristics.

2. Growing Conditions

Environmental factors during the growing season greatly influence test weight. Adequate water availability, optimal temperatures, and an appropriate balance of nutrients are essential for good test weight development. Stressful conditions such as drought or extreme heat can negatively impact test weight, leading to lighter kernels.

3. Disease and Pest Pressure

Disease and pest infestations can have detrimental effects on corn test weight. Fungal diseases like Diplodia ear rot and Fusarium ear rot can cause grain damage and reduce test weight. Insect pests like corn earworms and European corn borers can also impact kernel development and subsequently affect test weight.

4. Harvesting and Drying Conditions

The timing of harvest and the conditions during drying can affect test weight. Harvesting corn at the right moisture content is crucial to prevent kernel damage and maintain optimal test weight. Drying corn too quickly or with excessively high temperatures can lead to reduced test weight due to kernel stress and shrinkage.

What is Considered a Good Test Weight for Corn?

The definition of a good test weight can vary depending on location, market demand, and specific corn uses. However, in general, a test weight above 54 pounds per bushel is considered excellent, while a test weight between 52 and 54 pounds per bushel is considered good. It is important to note that these ranges may differ based on regional standards and buyer preferences. Ensuring a good test weight is essential for farmers aiming to optimize profitability and meet market demands.

In livestock feed, a higher test weight is desirable as it generally indicates more energy-dense corn. Livestock producers often have specific requirements for corn test weight to ensure optimal animal nutrition and performance. On the other hand, a lower test weight might be acceptable for purposes such as ethanol production or some industrial uses, where it is not a significant quality factor.

Why Should Farmers Aim for a Good Test Weight?

Farmers strive to achieve a good test weight for several reasons. Firstly, a good test weight is often associated with higher market prices. Buyers and grain elevators are willing to pay a premium for corn with superior quality characteristics, including a higher test weight. This can directly impact a farmer's profitability and return on investment.

Furthermore, a good test weight indicates a better-quality corn crop with denser kernels. Denser kernels are less prone to damage during mechanical harvesting, handling, and transportation. Farmers can reduce losses and maintain overall grain integrity by producing corn with a higher test weight.

Moreover, a good test weight is an important signal of a healthy and properly matured crop. It reflects the success of agronomic and management practices throughout the growing season. By achieving a good test weight, farmers can demonstrate their ability to produce a high-quality crop and enhance their reputation among buyers and consumers.


In conclusion, test weight is a crucial parameter in evaluating the quality and value of corn. It provides insights into the density, maturity, and condition of the crop. Test weight is influenced by various factors, including genetics, growing conditions, disease, and pest pressure, as well as harvesting and drying practices. A good test weight for corn is generally considered to be above 54 pounds per bushel, with ranges differing based on regional standards and market demands.

Farmers should aim for a good test weight to maximize profitability, meet market demands, and ensure the overall quality of their corn crop. By understanding the factors affecting test weight and implementing best management practices, farmers can optimize their corn production and achieve superior test weights. Ultimately, a good test weight contributes to a more competitive position in the market and enhances the reputation of farmers as quality producers.


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