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URBANA - With funding from the Nutrient Research & Education Council, University of Illinois researchers started a project in 2014 to get a better idea of how much nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are contained in harvested grain of corn, soybean, and wheat.

Emerson Nafziger, a U of I crop scientist, said they attempted to get yield level for each sampled field in 2014 in order to see if yield level affects nutrient content.

“We found that it did not, and so we dropped the requirement to include yield level, but will leave it as an option," Nafziger said. "The only thing we need recorded on each sample bag is the county in which the sampled field was located.”

Nafziger said that while wheat samples for this year have already been collected, they could use a few more wheat samples from stored grain if available.

“We also have found a source to get most of the soybean samples we need, though we would be happy to take a few more soybean samples as well,” he added.

The main need now is for corn grain samples from across Illinois from the crop being harvested this fall. Nafziger requests that only one sample be taken from a given field, following these procedures:

Before, during, or (for stored grain) after harvest, send an email to to request a mailer. The email should list the cooperator’s name, mailing address, and how many samples of what grain (wheat, corn, or soybean) are being collected. If the mailing address is in a different county than the field where the sample was taken, please indicate what county the sample is from.

Prepaid mailers will be immediately sent to the cooperator. The mailer will include plastic sample bags, each with a label containing the cooperator’s name (for those who want to receive results) and county. It will have a blank to fill in the yield level (estimated or measured) of the field, which will be optional this year.

The sample bag is sized to hold about 6 to 8 ounces of grain, which is all that is needed. The grain should be dry (at or close to standard moisture) so it will keep well during shipping. Put the bag with grain into the mailer and drop it into the mail. It will be addressed to go to the U of I and will be analyzed once it is received.

“Elevators are a place where samples can be gathered efficiently,” Nafziger said. “We will try to contact elevators directly. If you represent an elevator, you might let us know how many corn samples you will be able to collect."

Nafziger added that, “With corn maturing rapidly early in September this year, some probe samples should come in dry enough to send, though they may need drying if they’re above 16 to 17 percent.”

For more information, contact Nafziger at


Copy Editor

Dawn James is a Copy Editor for the JG-TC.

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