A critical assessment of the HGCA grain sampling guide
Claas Wagnera,* and Kim. H. Esbensenb,a aACABS Research Group, Aalborg University, campus Esbjerg (AAUE), Denmark bGeological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail: [email protected]
HGCA’s grain sampling guide is assessed with respect to the principles for representative sampling as set forward in the Theory of Sampling (TOS). Sampling correctness, which requires the elimination of all Incorrect Sampling Errors (ISE), constitutes the only guarantee for valid, representative grain quality control; presence of ISEs causes a varying, uncontrollable sampling bias that cannot be corrected for. Contrary to a first superficial observation (“grain is grain”), many different species and varieties, as well as differences caused by soil types, availability of local nutrients, make “grain” a significantly heterogeneous commodity, which requires special attention when sampled at various process locations (from harvesting, storage until commercial intake). The present appraisal shows that most of the respected HGCA grain guide’s recommendations do not comply with TOS principles of sampling correctness. The suggested sampling procedures constitute major error potentials, which strongly compromise sample representativity.