“No teacup samples!”
That was the word from the manager to his dryer operators once the drying season began. Knowing the importance of taking good moisture samples he didn’t want any of his operators taking potentially costly short cuts. That is pretty good advice.
With everyone busy and the temptation to take that grab moisture sample often there, it is a good time to review why we need to be careful when we take moisture samples and how we should try to get “valid” samples while drying.
Why: There is no such thing as a single moisture value for grain, especially corn, leaving the dryer. There will always be some variation from kernel to kernel and sample to sample.
Taking only a small sample means that you could get a very unrepresentative reading. If you then use this misleading value to make an adjustment to your drying you could end up over or under drying unnecessarily.
To improve the accuracy of your sample you want to take a larger sample over a slightly longer time period. This will minimize the chances for getting an outlier reading.
How: With the DM510 system we recommend taking several small scoops or handfuls over a 30 second time period. Then we advise that you mix the combined sample thoroughly.
While it is possible to just do one manual test on a portion of the sample, we usually recommend that you take three tests, on three different pulls from the sample, and then average the result.
Since the three readings will often be different this will also give you an idea of the variation present – and remember this variation is what you see after the several small samples have already been mixed.
Here is a short excerpt from our DM510 training video that goes over some sampling basics: