what to do with low test weight corn



Low test weight corn refers to corn kernels that are lighter and smaller in size compared to regular corn kernels. Test weight is a measure of the overall density of corn, and it is an important factor in determining the quality and market value of corn crops. Corn with low test weight can be a result of various factors, such as poor growing conditions, genetic traits, or harvesting and drying processes. While low test weight corn may not meet the standards for market corn, it can still be utilized in various ways. This article explores different options for utilizing low test weight corn and highlights its potential benefits.

The Challenges of Low Test Weight Corn

Low test weight corn poses several challenges for farmers and producers. Firstly, it can impact the marketability of the corn crop. Buyers often prioritize corn with higher test weight as it is associated with better quality and higher yields. Corn with low test weight may command lower prices or may even be rejected by some buyers.

Additionally, low test weight corn may have reduced nutritional value. The lower density of the kernels can result in a lower starch content, impacting the energy content of the corn. This can be a concern for livestock feed applications, where corn is a primary source of energy for animals. Furthermore, low test weight corn may have lower germination rates, making it less suitable for planting in subsequent seasons.

However, despite these challenges, there are several options available for farmers to effectively utilize low test weight corn. By exploring alternative uses and value-added products, farmers can optimize their returns and minimize waste.

Alternative Uses for Low Test Weight Corn

Low test weight corn can be utilized in various ways, depending on the quality, nutritional value, and specific requirements. Here are some alternative uses for low test weight corn:

1. Livestock Feed

Low test weight corn can still be an excellent feed option for livestock, especially when combined with other ingredients to meet the nutritional needs of animals. It is important to balance the diet by including additional protein and supplements to compensate for the lower energy content.

Livestock producers can work with animal nutritionists to formulate diets that maximize the utilization of low test weight corn. Supplementing with protein-rich feeds, such as soybean meal or other legumes, can help enhance the nutritional profile of the feed. Additionally, incorporating other high-energy ingredients like distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) or corn oil can help boost the overall energy content.

It is crucial to regularly monitor the performance and health of the animals fed with low test weight corn-based diets. Adjustments may be necessary to ensure optimal growth, production, and overall animal well-being.

2. Ethanol Production

Low test weight corn can also be used for ethanol production. While corn with higher test weight is usually preferred due to its higher starch content, low test weight corn can still be a viable option for ethanol production, especially if combined with other high-starch grains or feedstocks.

Ethanol plants can adjust their processes to accommodate low test weight corn by optimizing enzyme usage, fermentation techniques, and distillation parameters. The lower starch content of low test weight corn may require additional steps or modifications to achieve the desired ethanol yield. However, with appropriate adjustments, low test weight corn can still contribute to ethanol production and provide an alternative revenue stream for farmers.

3. Grinding and Pelleting

Another option for utilizing low test weight corn is grinding it into cornmeal for direct consumption or further processing. Grinding low test weight corn can help break it down into smaller pieces, making it more suitable for animal consumption or as an ingredient in various food products.

By grinding low test weight corn into cornmeal or flour, it can be used as a partial replacement for regular cornmeal in recipes. This can be particularly useful in products where the lower density or size of the kernels is less noticeable, such as baking mixes, snack foods, or processed food products. Additionally, cornmeal made from low test weight corn can be further processed into value-added products like breakfast cereals, corn chips, or tortillas.

Furthermore, low test weight corn can be processed into pelleted feeds for easier storage, transportation, and feeding. Pelleting can enhance the feed's palatability and reduce feed wastage, making it a convenient option for livestock producers.

4. Seed Corn Production

Low test weight corn can serve as a potential source for seed corn production. While higher test weight is generally desired for seed corn, low test weight corn can still produce viable seeds under certain conditions.

Seed companies often have specific requirements and standards for seed corn production, including germination rates, purity, and visual appearance. Selecting low test weight corn with the best genetic traits and germination capabilities can be a starting point for producing seed corn. Proper nurturing, isolation, and controlled pollination can help ensure the production of quality seed corn.

It is important to work closely with seed companies to understand their specific requirements and protocols for low test weight corn used in seed production. Additionally, conducting germination tests and quality assessments can help determine the suitability of low test weight corn for seed corn production.

5. Soil Amendments and Animal Bedding

Low test weight corn can also find applications outside the traditional agricultural sectors. It can be processed into ground corn or corn cob meal to be used as soil amendments or as bedding material for animals.

Ground corn can be tilled into the soil to improve soil structure, moisture retention, and nutrient availability. It can also help enhance microbial activity and overall soil health. Similarly, corn cob meal can be used as bedding material for livestock, poultry, or pets. It provides a comfortable and absorbent surface that helps control odors and moisture, creating a healthier environment for animals.


Low test weight corn may present challenges for farmers and producers, but it doesn't have to go to waste. By exploring alternative uses and value-added products, farmers can make the most of their low test weight corn and minimize economic losses.

Whether it is used as livestock feed, in ethanol production, as ground corn for human consumption, or even for seed corn production, low test weight corn can find new life in various applications. With careful consideration, adaptation, and utilization of appropriate processing techniques, the potential benefits of low test weight corn can be realized.

By embracing innovative approaches and understanding the specific requirements of different industries, farmers can turn low test weight corn into a valuable resource and contribute to the overall sustainability and efficiency of their agricultural operations.


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