December 17, 2012

Despite drought, Grains Council report shows high quality corn crop


The U.S. corn crop harvested this fall gets high markets for quality despite the severe drought across much of the Corn Belt, according to the U.S. Grains Council's Corn Harvest Quality Report 2012/13.

The corn crop showed a year-over-year improvement in average text weight, protein levels and density, as well as lower moisture and broken corn and foreign material (BCFM) than the 2011 crop.

The full report is available here.

This is the second year for the Council’s harvest report, which assess the quality of the U.S. crop as it is delivered from farms to local elevators, the first step in entering international marketing channels. It will be followed in April 2013 by the second Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, which assess quality at the point of export.

The Council said it produces the reports so global importers will have access to reliable and comparable data from year to year, with samples being gathered and tested using transparent and consistent methods.

For the harvest quality report, samples of U.S. corn were gathered from 12 states that combined are the source for 99 percent of U.S. corn exports.

Data indicates the average test weight for the 2012-13 crop was 58.8 pounds per bushel, an increase over 2011 and more than 2 pounds per bushel above the grade limit for No. 1 U.S. corn. Other physical characteristics are shown in the chart below and are compared to 2011.

 Chemical characteristics - protein, oil and starch - are shown below.

The Council said the frequency of stress cracks, which indicate the relative susceptibility of kernels to break up during handling, are up marginally (from 3 percent last year to 4 percent this year). This could be an indicator that the crop will be more susceptible to breakage during handling, information that may turn up in the Corn Export Cargo Quality Report in the spring.

“With an increasingly competitive global market, the availability of accurate information is in the long-term best interest of U.S. farmers, exporters and international buyers,” said Erick Erickson, USGC director of global strategies. “We received a tremendously positive response to the inaugural reports from international buyers, so certainly there is a need for this type of information.”

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