Alexander J. Lindsey, Assistant Professor, Agronomy and also Crop Ecophysiology, room of Horticulture and Crop Science

The objective of this truth sheet is to describe how and why serial test weight is offered in the grain market, and also how producers can ensure acceptable check weights native their chop production program.

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Bushel is a volume measurement for grain created numerous years ago by Celtic individuals (Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Ireland) come facilitate fair grain trade. The bushel measurement to be not defined in regards to cubic feet, however is at this time considered come be about 1.25 cubic feet in volume. Although grain is referred to in terms of bushels in the united States, that is referenced and also traded ~ above the basis of weight (tons or metric tons) throughout the rest of the world. Come facilitate the trade of grain, the USDA created weight criter for each grain so that grain could be sweet to determine the number of bushels rather than make the efforts to make volume measurements. Corn was assigned a bushel weight of 56 pounds, when soybeans and also wheat were assigned bushel weights the 60 pounds. Part other examples are: Rye at 56 pounds every bushel, barley at 48, oat and also fescue in ~ 32, etc.

The test weight concept was occurred many years earlier by the grain trade as a way of bookkeeping for the differing densities that grain led to by weather and/or production practices. Once grain density is lower than the welcomed standard (low check weight), more volume is needed to store and transport a offered weight of grain, hence increasing storage and also transport costs. Various grades of each grain have various standard test weights. Because that example, No. 2 yellow corn has a standard of 56 pounds per bushel while No. 3 yellow corn has a reduced weight.

Test load is established on each fill of grain sold by weighing a well-known volume the the grain. If the weight is lower than the acceptable range, the sale is "docked" top top a percentage basis. The seller the grain with test weight higher than the acceptable variety is usually not rewarded for a superior product. The test weight is also used in high quality standards for small grains choose soft red winter wheat, barley, and also oats, but soybean qualities are not influenced by check weight. Various other factors, such together cracked kernels, international materials, splits, and heat damaged kernels additionally contribute to grading standards. The details of how test load differs in between grades because that corn and more common small grains have the right to be viewed in Table 1.

Table 1. USDA Test weight Grade requirements for Shelled Corn, Soft Red Winter Wheat, Barley, and also Oats.
U.S. GradeMinimum Test weight (lb/Bushel)
No.Shelled Corn (lb)Soft Red Winter Wheat (lb)Six-Rowed Malting Barley (lb)Two-Rowed Malting Barley (lb)Oats (lb)
15660475036
25458454833
35256434830
44954434827
5*4651------
*Only four U.S. Qualities for malting barley and oats room defined.

Varieties the a chop often differ in their natural test weight. Two common reasons of short test weights are:

Grain is prevented indigenous filling totally and/or maturing and drying normally in the field because of a death frost, hail, or insect damage. Once this happens, the strength molecules within the grain room prevented from the natural procedure of shedding absorbed water molecules that allow the grain to shrink come a regular size. Artificial drying through heat removes this overfill water but the starch molecules carry out not shrink and also grain dimension doesn"t change appreciably, so test weight (density) remains low.Grain matures and dries normally in the field however is periodically rewetted through rainfall, dew, or fog bring about the grain to initiate the germination procedure (precocious germination) prior to harvesting. Throughout germination, oil, starch, and also protein room digested to administer energy and molecules to develop a new seedling. This procedure leaves tiny voids within the grain. Back the grain might again dry in the field, the seed dimension does not adjust and the little voids within the seed an outcome in a lessened test weight. Preferably test weight is achieved when grain is harvest on the first dry-down and likewise at greater moisture. For example, the right harvest moisture because that soybeans and also corn is 16-19 percent moisture and also 20-25 percent humidity respectively.

Grain is hardly ever sold in ~ the traditional moisture content (soybean—13 percent, corn—15.5 percent). Once grain moisture content is greater than the standard, the grain weight is discounted come account for the extra humidity according come the formula: (100% - wet%) split by (100% - dry%). Because that a sample of soybeans at 18 percent moisture, the calculation would be: (100 - 18) divided by (100 - 13) = 82/87 = 0.94.

Multiplying the load of the wet serial by 0.94 will offer the weight of the grain at 13 percent moisture. For example: 6000 pounds of soybeans in ~ 18 percent grain humidity would become 5640 pounds the grain at 13 percent moisture (6000 X 0.94 = 5640).

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While the 56 lb per bushel test load for corn is based on a moisture contents of 15.5 percent moisture, some grain purchasers will use a moisture worth of 15 percent and also retain the 56 pounds per bushel value for calculation. If grain is dryer 보다 the standard, that very same equation can be used to calculation the boosted weight that have to be credited to the seller, although that calculation is seldom made and the seller is not usually rewarded for the short moisture content. This calculation functions for any type of grade of any kind of grain because that which a standard moisture contents is specified.

Original author: Dr. Jim Beuerlein, Retired, expansion Agronomist. (Originally published in 2000.)