WASHINGTON — The high quality corn harvested last fall continued to maintain high grades through the supply chain to the export channels.
The U.S. Grains Council’s 2022-2023 Corn Export Quality Report documented the average quality of U.S. corn samples was better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors collected from corn shipments.
The export cargo quality report is a companion to the 2022-2023 Corn Harvest Quality Report that provides information about the quality corn at harvest as it enters the international merchandising channels.
Both reports provide reliable information on U.S. corn quality from the farm to the customer based on transparent and consistent methodology, offering an early view of grading factors established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moisture content and other characteristics not reported elsewhere.
The reports identify any noticeable changes occurring between these two time periods caused by shipping and logistics.
“Foreign buyers have many options when it comes to sourcing their corn for feed, food and fuel, and this report ensures they have the latest and most detailed information when considering U.S. corn,” said USGC Chairman Josh Miller.
“International importers and consumers can know that they are making a smart, informed purchase by seeing the exact benefits and characteristics of this year’s crop.”
The USGC is rolling out the new results in a series of crop quality seminars, including events in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico and South Korea.
These outreach activities help establish clear expectations with buyers and end-users regarding the quality of corn this marketing year.
“To help fulfill this mission, the council offers this report as a service to our partners as part of its mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives,” Miller said.
“This annual study helps us do our part in strengthening global food security and mutually uplifting economies by informing global importers about the crop they are considering.”
The report is based on 430 export cargo samples collected from corn shipments undergoing federal inspection and grading processes at export terminals. It also provides information on grading, handling and how U.S. corn is moved and controlled through export channels.
The sample test results are reported at the U.S. aggregate level and by export points associated with three general regions, which are labeled Export Catchment Areas. These three ECAs are identified by the three major pathways to export markets — Gulf, Pacific Northwest and Southern Rail.
Here are some of the report’s sample findings as the corn entered the export market:
• Average test weight of 58 pounds per bushel was higher than 2021-2022 and the five-year average, indicating overall good quality. Most of the samples, or 93.3%, tested at or above the limit for U.S. No. 1 grade compared to 100% of the samples in 2021-2022.
• Average broken corn and foreign material of 2.7% was similar to 2021-2022, lower than the five-year average and lower than the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2 grade. BCFM predictably increased from 0.9% to 2.7% as the crop moved from harvest through the marketing channel to export.
• Total damage at export averaged 2.3%, similar to 2021-2022 and the five-year average. Most of the samples, or 95.9%, were at or below the limit for U.S. No. 2 grade, the same proportion of samples as in 2021-2022.
• Average heat damage was at zero, the same as 2021-2022 and the five-year average, indicating good management of drying and storage of corn throughout the marketing channel.
• Protein concentration, at 8.7% dry basis, was higher than 2021-2022 and the five-year average.
• Starch concentration, at 71.9% dry basis, was similar to a year ago, but lower than the five-year average.
• Oil concentration, at 3.9% dry basis, was higher than 2021-2022, but lower than the five-year average.
• Stress cracks averaged 8.6%, similar to 2021-2022, but lower than the five-year average. The majority of the export samples, or 90.2%, had less than 15% stress cracks.
• Average 100-kernel weight, at 35.61 grams, was lower than last year and the five-year average, indicating lighter kernels in 2022-2023 than last year and the five-year average.
• Average kernel volume of 0.28 cubic centimeters was the same as 2021-2022, but lower than the five-year average.
• True density averaged 1.273 grams per cubic centimeter and was the lowest average observed in the 12-year history of the report.
• Whole kernels averaged 84.9% and was lower than last year, but higher than the five-year average.
• Average horneous, or hard, endosperm was 82%, lower than 2021-2022, but higher than the five-year average.
• All samples tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration action level of 20 parts per billion for aflatoxin. A total of 94.9% of the export samples had levels of aflatoxin below the Federal Grain Inspection Service “Lower Conformance Limit” of 5 ppb in 2022-2023, a lower proportion than 2021-2022, at 97.3%, and 2020-2021, at 98.3%.
• All samples tested below the 5 parts per million FDA advisory level for deoxynivalenol, the same as 2021-2022 and 2020-2021. Of the samples tested for DON in 2022-2023, 98.9% showed levels below 1.5 ppm, a similar proportion to 2021-2022, at 100%, and higher than 2020-2021, at 95.6%.
• Of the samples tested for fumonisin in 2022-2023, 94.3% were below the FDA’s strictest guidance level for fumonisin of 5 ppm.