The NWCS Quality Testing Laboratory opened in 2011 thanks to funding from the Castanea Foundation and the support from generous private donations. We perform quality analysis on commercial cereal grains, hops, and malting barley samples received from farmers and researchers across the region.

COVID-19 update related to the Cereal Grains Testing Lab.

REMINDER - As we are following the University of Vermont procedures regarding COVID-19, the NWCS Cereal Testing Lab will remain open, but with reduced staffing and university mail services. If you are shipping a sample, please email us at ahead of time so we can arrange to have your sample delivered to the lab in a timely manner.


The lab is equipped with near-infrared technology for protein analysis and employs a method to test for deoxynivalenol (DON) also known as vomitoxin. Occurrences of this vomitoxin in wheat at or above 1 ppm are considered unsafe for human consumption by the FDA. Contamination of wheat with DON is directly related to the incidence of Fusarium head blight and strongly associated with relative moisture and timing of rainfall at flowering.

Our lab also houses a sophisticated machine to test the Falling Number of wheat, an internationally standardized method for sprout damage detection. The Falling Number System measures the alpha-amylase enzyme activity in grains and flour to detect sprout damage, optimize flour enzyme activity and guarantee soundness of traded grain. Alpha-amylase activity is crucial for final product quality of bread, pasta, noodles and malt.

Understanding Falling Number in Cereal Crops fact sheet (PDF)

Remember the results are only as good as the sample submitted!

If you have samples you would like analyzed, please send 1) payment and 2) a completed submission form — these must accompany all requests sent in. In order to get results that accurately reflect your product, be sure to employ good sampling techniques.

Grains Testing

We test for test weight, moisture, protein, falling number, and DON in grains. We also conduct analyses for corn (% Moisture, % Crude Protein, % Crude Fiber, and % Starch). New for 2020, we are testing for Aflatoxin (ppb).

To expedite analysis of your sample(s), please provide a completed submission form(s) and payment with your sample(s). Also please make sure you provide 1 quart of clean (no stones and dirt) and dry (<14% moisture) whole grain for each sample submitted. PDF iconCereal Submission Form (PDF)

Hops Quality Analysis

Hops Quality analysis is available. We can test for Brewing Values (BV’s) which determines Alpha acids, Beta acids and Hops Storage Index (HSI). Please see our What’s Hoppening blog post for tips on submitting hop samples for quality analysis.



Malting Barley analysis is now available. We can test for test weight, grain moisture, dry matter protein, falling number, germination, plumpness and DON. Please make sure you provide 1 quart of clean (no stones and dirt) and dry (<14% moisture) whole grain for each sample submitted. PDF iconMalting Barley Submission Form (PDF)

Submission Forms

To submit a sample(s), please click on the appropriate submission form below and complete the form in full. Payment and a completed Submission Form must accompany all requests please.

Contact information for the testing lab:
Phone: 802-656-5392