WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The 2011 U.S. corn crop entered the global market with a good test weight, low stress cracks and good moisture readings, according to the 2011 U.S. Corn Quality Harvest Report, the first national corn quality report of its kind commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

Results in the study, released on March 8, were drawn from 474 yellow commodity corn samples taken across 12 top corn producing U.S. states representing 98% of 2010 U.S. corn exports.

“Many key questions we are asked every year surround the quality of the U.S. corn crop,” said USGC’s Erick Erickson, director of programs and planning. “With this initial report, we aim to objectively provide that information. As reports are completed in future years, we’ll have an excellent history of the quality of U.S. corn as it enters the merchandising channel.”

Samples for the study were collected by country elevators in each participating state. Samples were sent directly to the Illinois Crop Improvement Association Identity Preserved Grain Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois, U.S., for analysis following U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.

The study compiled the results on an aggregate basis, covering all 12 states, but also broke them out into three composite export catchment areas, the Gulf (Mississippi Gulf shipments), Pacific Northwest and Southern Rail (rail shipments to Mexico).

“The catchment areas can help buyers who ship out of certain points to better understand the quality of the corn entering merchandising channels that generally ship to those areas,” Erickson said.

On an aggregate basis, the report shows a good test weight crop in 2011 – 58.1 pounds per bushel (74.8 kg/hl).

Moisture samples taken at grain elevators averaged 15.6% and had low variability, which implies that the corn dried down mostly in the field, helping improve storeability and creating fewer stressed kernels due to less equipment-based drying.

The crop also showed low stress cracks and low levels of broken corn and foreign matter (BCFM). Low figures in both of these areas indicate the possibility of reduced rates of breakage as corn is handled.

“Study results show that despite challenging growing conditions experienced in several corn growing regions, farmers in the United States produced a high-quality crop overall,” Erickson said.