Employee Onboarding, Grain Quality

Introduction to Grain Quality Management

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This course focuses on the management and maintenance of quality grains and oilseeds. It includes lectures on quality factors of value-added grains and oilseeds; moisture content determination; grain sampling and quality standards; quality assured production of IP grains; relationship between air and grain properties; fan selection and operational management for drying, conditioning and aerating grains; grain storability, deterioration and mycotoxins; insect pest identification; pest management strategies for prevention and control; and Sanitation, Loading, Aeration and Monitoring (S.L.A.M.)-based stored grain management.

Course Goals: This course teaches students the basic principles of managing the quality of value-added grains during post-harvest handling, drying and storage. By the end of this course, students will be familiar with different methods of quality control and management systems and understand the grain-grading standards required to maintain quality and prevent potential problems.

Target Audience: This course is designed for grain-elevator professionals responsible for assessing, managing and maintaining grain quality, including those involved with storing and conditioning, aeration, drying, pest control and mycotoxin management.


Chelle Hartzer  RollinsSee Bio

Chelle Hartzer earned her B.A. from the University of Delaware and M.S. from Kansas State University, both degrees in entomology. Her research included pest management of stored product pests, development of IPM programs for food and feed processing facilities, grain protectants and modified atmospheres.

Dr. Dirk Maier  Iowa State UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Maier is professor at Iowa State University and previously served as director of the GEAPS/K-State Distance Education Program. Maier’s research and extension education programs focus on post-harvest engineering, stored-product protection, structural fumigation, value-added processing, and quality assurance of agricultural crops and biological products. Before joining Iowa State University, Dr. Maier was professor and head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University and professor, associate head and extension agricultural engineer at Purdue University.

Dr. Richard Stroshine  Purdue University See Bio

Dr. Stroshine received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from The Ohio State University and his doctorate degree from Cornell. He came to Purdue in 1980 as an assistant professor and became a professor in 1994. His research interests are related to physical properties of agricultural and biological materials and food products, processing of agricultural and biological materials, quality measurement and development of sensors for quality measurement.

Dr. Linda Mason  Purdue UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Mason is professor of food pest management in the Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management in the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. She teaches insect behavior and insect ecology to graduate and undergraduate students and trains graduate students in urban pest management. Her research focus is on the development of environmentally friendly management programs to prevent insect, rodent and vertebrate contamination of food during production and storage in the post harvest, retail and consumer markets.

Dr. Charles Woloshuk  Purdue UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Woloshuk is professor of plant pathology in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University. He received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Valdosta State College, a Master of Science in botany from the University of Maryland and a doctorate in plant pathology from Washington State University. Woloshuk joined the faculty at Purdue in 1993, where he conducts both basic and applied research in the areas of mycotoxins and grain storage. He is also responsible for extension programs that address management practices to prevent fungi and mycotoxins in stored grain.

Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Grain Quality Properties
This lecture will introduce students to quality factors of value-added grains and oilseeds, including both physical properties and chemical properties. Main topics will include: physical grain quality properties, the chemical grain quality properties and the effect of quality properties on biological processes. It will discuss the primary grain properties in each of the three categories of grain quality, moisture content’s effect on friction coefficient and angle of repose, the difference between the piling and funneling angle of repose, and the primary flow patterns of grain when emptying from a bin.
Lecturer: Dr. Richard Stroshine & Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 2 – Moisture Content
In this lecture, students will learn the importance of moisture-content determination, including how to define moisture content and dry basis, versus wet-basis moisture. Students will also learn about grain blending calculations and acceptable moisture to blend grains.
Lecturer: Dr. Richard Stroshine & Dr. Dirk Maier

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Grain Inspection and Quality Standards
This lecture will give students an introduction to grain sampling principles and equipment. Students will also learn about the purposes and types of grain grading standards and a comparison of U.S. grading standards versus international grading standards. In addition, students will understand the quality factors that are included in the grading standard as well as the factors that are not applicable to standards.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 4 – Air Properties, Equilibrium Moisture Content and Airflow Part I
After this lecture, students will understand the concepts of air properties (psychometrics) and grain properties (equilibrium moisture content) and the importance of airflow rates for drying, conditioning and aerating (cooling) grains and oilseeds.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Air Properties, Equilibrium Moisture Content and Airflow Part II
Students will continue to learn the concepts of air properties (psychometrics) and grain properties (equilibrium moisture content) and the importance of airflow rates for drying, conditioning and aerating (cooling) grains and oilseeds. The lecture will focus on utilization of tools to calculate EMC values.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 6 – Fan Sizing, Selection and Operational Strategies
The objective of this lecture is for students to be able to understand the importance of proper fan sizing and selection to achieve desired operational effects. The lecture provides an overview of fan types, and basic principles of fan sizing and selection. Basic operational strategies that can be employed to dry, condition and aerate grains are also covered.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Storability and Deterioration of Grains and Oilseeds
This lecture will familiarize students with the storability concept and the primary causes of grain deterioration due to molds and mycotoxins. It will touch on several topics including: the definition of mycotoxins, the factors that lead to mycotoxin problems, changes that occur in grain when damaged by mold, management steps in the prevention of grain spoilage, how to determine if grain is contaminated with mycotoxins, the allowable storage time concept, the causes of grain deterioration and the primary storage molds (fungi). In addition, new ways to test for mycotoxins are covered.
Lecturer: Dr. Charles Woloshuk

Lecture 8 – Insect Pests of Stored Grains and Oilseeds
Lecture 8 will cover the different stored-product insect pests and how to identify them. Topics will include how to correctly identify pest species, major internal and external infesting pests, what pest species to be concerned about, federal regulations, “good” insects, why internal pests are harder to monitor and control, factors that regulate insect populations and which insect populations can be controlled.
Lecturer: Dr. Linda Mason

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Prevention and Control of Stored Product Insect Pests
This lecture will familiarize students with the primary pest prevention strategies. It will cover the importance of inspection. Inspections are a key component in early identification of potential issues. This section will cover self-assessment and provide you with the appropriate tools for a self-assessment program. Information specific control options is available in GEAPS 525: Management of Pests in Stored Grain.
Lecturer: Chelle Hartzer

Lecture 10 – S.L.A.M.-Based Quality Management of Stored Grains and Oilseeds
Students will become familiar with principles of SLAM (Sanitation, Loading, Aeration and Monitoring) for optimum quality management of stored grains and oilseeds. The main topics covered include using sanitation to clean storage structures, loading a storage structure properly, using aeration to cool grains, and how to monitor to check grain properly.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier