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Grain & Oilseed Basics Module

This module is to acquaint you with various grains and oilseeds grown in the United States and discusses how the major grains (wheat and corn) and soybeans are handled, processed, and used in food, feed, and industrial markets. This grain module is brought to you by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative and was produced by the former Crop Adviser Institute.

Click here to access the Grain & Oilseed Basics Module

Learning objective: Identify major grains and oilseeds. Understand the importance of production locations and harvest schedules in terms of both food safety and quality needs.

Introduction: This modules describes quality factors and typical production, harvest, and handling procedures for wheat, corn, and soybeans. It also describes small grains such as barley, rice and millet, as well as other types of oilseeds such as canola, sunflower, flax, and cottonseed.

Grains and oilseeds: Individual field loads are blended with those from other farms as they enter the marketing chain to be sold as a bulk commodity. Bulk commodities often pass through several handling facilities before reaching a user. At each point, grain lots are combined or divided as needed for efficient shipment to the next buyer.

USDA grade standards: Grains are traded as bulk commodities using USDA Grade factors. Grade factors are determined by either official inspectors of the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), or by the buyer as determined by purchase contract. Factors considered under the Grades are: test weight, broken or split kernels, foreign material, damage, and odor. Buyers and sellers may also specify other factors in their purchase contract. For example, wheat is normally traded on protein content, while most other grains have no composition specification.

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Publication Date: 09/2016

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