Understanding Grain Quality: What You Need To Know

Understanding Grain Quality: What You Need To Know

Published by The Grain Handling Direct Team on Aug 25th 2022

Grain quality is important at every step of the process. If you don’t put in the time to produce quality grain, buyers will be less interested in purchasing. When they do purchase, they’ll likely want to buy your grain for less if it’s not up to their standards. Read on for a better understanding of grain quality. Here’s what you need to know.

Moisture Content

Moisture content is crucial information when determining the quality of a wheat crop, and it dictates how you handle and store your grain. After determining your wheat’s grade, the primary quality test checks for grain density. This information tells your buyers how much flour they can expect to get from your grain, with larger kernels being preferable for better milling and less bran.


While protein may not be an official factor, it might as well be. Grain’s economic value is often assessed based on its amount of protein. Different wheat strains have different percent protein bases, depending on their intended use. For instance, drum wheat protein must have at least 13.5 percent protein basis, while hard red spring wheat is usually around 14 percent.

Falling Number Test

Like the protein basis, wheat’s falling number is not an official grading factor. However, it’s an essential number to get right. The falling number is determined by dropping a plunger through ground wheat—the faster the plunger falls, the lower your falling number. This unique test measures the strength of your wheat for baking by measuring the alpha-amylase.


Gluten quantity and quality are crucial considerations for determining where your grain will be used. For example, low-gluten wheat, like soft white wheat, is best in cakes and cookies. High-gluten wheat, like hard red winter wheat, is best in breads and rolls.

Now that you have what you need to know to understand grain quality, ensure your farm’s grain conveyors and bins are in tip-top shape. Only the best for your grain!