Prospective buyers want quantity and quality, and that’s
exactly what the U.S. corn suppliers have to offer going into 2014, according to
a report by the U.S. Grains Council.
“After a record drought last year, the world has been
watching intently the 2013 U.S. corn crop,” said council President and CEO Tom
Sleight. “Production has rebounded, and quality is high despite some weather
challenges. It’s good news all around.”
Total U.S. corn production of 13,989 million bushels is an
all-time record, and the average yield of 160.4 bushels per acre is the second
highest on record.
Weather was again the challenge, as a cold and wet spring
delayed planting across much of the Corn Belt. Some areas also experienced
flash-drought conditions in midsummer, although this was generally offset by
These weather adversities slightly reduced planted acreage
and yield, while harvest quality remained high.
As compared to prior years, weather-related impacts were
modest and predictable. Aflatoxins were significantly lower than in the 2012
crop, with 99.4 percent of the samples testing below the Food and Drug
Administration aflatoxin action level of 20 parts per billion.
Starch content was up, while protein content, which is
inversely related to starch, was down slightly. Oil content was similar to 2011
Moisture content, reflecting weather conditions, was
slightly higher, as were stress cracks, but total damage levels remained low,
comparable to 2012 and below 2011 levels.
Average test weight remained well above the limit for No. 1
grade corn, indicating overall good quality.
“The report compares a wide range of quality factors across
time, and after the rollercoaster ride last year, the message in 2013 was that
there were no surprises,” Sleight said.
“A few test factors ticked up, others ticked down,
consistent with weather conditions, while overall quality at harvest was very
high. With record production, this is certainly a good-news report.”
Corn quality will be affected by further handling, so the
council annually publishes a second report, the Corn Export Quality Report,
which assesses quality at the point of loading for international shipment. The
2013/2014 Export Quality Report will be published in March.
The two reports, using consistent methodology to permit the
assessment of trends over time, are intended to provide reliable, timely, and
transparent information on the quality of U.S. corn as it moves through export
“The takeaway message this year is that the United States
has abundant supplies of high-quality corn,” Sleight said. “We would remind
buyers that they will get the quality level that they contract for, but with
record production and good quality, it is a buyers’ market as we head into