Falling numbers continues to be a main topic of discussion for Eastern Washington wheat producers. Wheat industry partners are committed to provide timely information to impacted growers. Continue to watch for updates on our website for additional information.
The falling number test is conducted on a 250 gram dockage free sample. The 250 grams represents approximately 7,500 kernels. That means if even a few kernels of the sample have problems with late maturity alpha amylase or sprout, the falling numbers can be affected significantly. For a video from the Washington State Grain Inspection Lab on the testing process, click here.
Falling Number Result
The Hagberg-Perten Falling Number test is used to measure starch damage due to sprout. The photo shows sponge cakes with increasing alpha-amylase from sprouting. Grain with a falling number below 300 seconds is typically discounted.
It is not just wide temperature swings during grain fill (late maturity alpha amylase or rain at harvest (sprout) that affects falling numbers in wheat, which is part of the reason why farmers who have had their samples retested can wind up with higher scores.