WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — A warm and moist growing season resulted in near-record yields and good quality for the 2018 corn crop, according to the U.S. Grain Council’s (USGC) latest corn quality report.
The 2018-19 Corn Harvest Quality Report is the council’s eighth annual corn quality survey. The report revealed the majority of 2018 corn crop conditions were rated as good or excellent during the growing season, leading to strong plant health, good kernel size and a projected crop of 371.52 million tonnes (14.626 billion bushels), the third-largest crop on record.
“The Council is pleased to offer this report as not only a service to our partners, but also as fulfillment of our mission to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives,” said Jim Stitzlein, chairman of the USGC. “The Council is committed to the furtherance of global food security and mutual economic benefit through trade, and we hope this report continues to provide readers accurate and timely insight into the quality of the 2018 U.S. corn crop.”
The report showed 93.9% of tested U.S. corn samples rated at U.S. Grade No. 2 or better; this was largely the result of a warm, wet vegetative period and a moderate pollination and grain-filling period. The drier, moderate temperatures during the second half of the growing season promoted healthy plants, good test weights and low kernel damage.
Average test weight of 58.4 pounds per bushel (75.1 kilograms per hectoliter) was higher than the five-year average and indicates good kernel filling and maturation. Average 100-kernel weight of 35.07 grams was lower than 2017, but above the five-year average.
All but one sample, or 99.5% of samples, tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action level for aflatoxin (20 parts per billion). One-hundred percent of the samples tested below the FDA advisory level for deoxynivalenol (DON), or vomitoxin, for chicken, cattle, hogs and other animals.
The 2018-19 Corn Harvest Quality Report provides information about the quality of the current U.S. corn crop at harvest as it enters international merchandising channels. This information will be supplemented by a second report, the 2018-19 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, scheduled for early 2019, that measures corn quality at export terminals at the point of loading for international shipment.
“The Council’s series of quality reports uses consistent and transparent methodology to allow for comparisons across time,” Stitzlein wrote in the USGC’s report. “This enables buyers to make well-informed decisions and have confidence in the capacity and reliability of the U.S. corn market.”
The USGC also began its annual roll-out events to present its findings to buyers around the world, starting in Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines. Presentations, meetings and conferences will continue through the first quarter of 2019 and aim to educate participants with clear expectations regarding the quality of corn for this marketing year. During these events, crop quality information is accompanied by presentations on U.S. corn grading and handling, which will work to provide a better understanding of how U.S. corn is moved and controlled through export channels.