WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Despite severe drought in 2012 that reduced the projected size of the U.S. corn crop, the crop was superior in quality across a number of key variables compared to the 2011 harvest, according to the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) second annual Corn Export Cargo Quality Report (Export Cargo Report) released on April 3. 

First released in May 2012, the Export Cargo Report provides the results of tests on corn samples collected during the U.S. government-licensed sampling and inspection process for U.S. corn export shipments. This year’s report indicates that export samples had a higher test weight, lower incidence of broken corn and foreign material (BCFM) and lower moisture as compared to the 2011-12 export samples. In chemical composition, the report observed higher protein levels and lower starch, with oil content also higher.

Continuing the comparison to the previous year’s report, the 2012-13 export samples showed fewer stress cracks and a lower average stress cracks index. In addition, this year’s corn samples have higher true density, a higher proportion of whole kernels and a higher percentage of horneous or hard endosperm, which are all favorable trends. The mycotoxin testing results showed a lower percentage of samples containing aflatoxins in levels greater than or equal to 5 parts per billion (ppb), and a lower percentage of samples containing deoxynivalenol/vomitoxin (DON) in levels greater than or equal to 0.5 ppm. All samples tested below or equal to the FDA action level of 20 ppb for aflatoxins and the FDA advisory level of 5 ppm for DON.

“To enhance the quality of information we provide to export customers about the quality of the U.S. corn supply, the council in 2011 initiated a series of annual Corn Quality Reports,” said USGC Chairman Don Fast. “These are developed in two parts. First, we publish a Harvest Quality Report that surveys U.S. corn quality at harvest as it enters the marketing system. Then a follow-up report in April, the Export Cargo Quality Report, looks at the quality of the corn crop as it is assembled for export early in the marketing year.

“These two reports provide a systematic annual look at the quality of the U.S. corn crop, using reliable data and a transparent, consistent methodology each year. We have established processes for sample collection and testing, and as we follow those processes year after year we will assemble a reliable and comparable database of transparent, objective information about U.S. corn quality.”

Click here for the whole report.