Delivery of Grain – Grade Determination for Canadian Grain in the U.S.

When grain of Canadian origin receives a U.S. grade in the U.S., How is the grade determined?

The sample will typically be tested for dockage, test weight, moisture and protein.  More tests may be or may not be done depending on the physical appearance of the sample and the relevant conditions of the crop year.  For example, if conditions have been conducive to sprout damage, a falling numbers test may be done.  Likewise, a test for DON (vomitoxin) might be conducted if conditions warrant.  Other factors that could be graded include DHV (dark, hard vitreous), damage, shrunken and broken kernels.  Unofficial U.S. labs (not designated by USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service) are not allowed to certify official designations (e.g., “U.S. No. 2” grain).

Elevators that load rail shuttles tend to have more sophisticated testing equipment and in some cases “official” grain inspection agencies (designated by USDA’s Federal Inspection Service) may have a satellite office at some train loading stations.  Such offices are authorized to make a determination of all grade factors and apply a U.S. grade.  Smaller elevators would typically send samples to a lab for falling number and DON tests.  Unless an “official” grain inspection agency is available, grade and factor determination will generally be conducted by personnel hired by the elevator.

USDA/FGIS official inspection agencies can be located at this website:

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