WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said on April 20 that it has released the 2014-15 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, the fourth in a series measuring U.S. corn quality by looking at grade factors, moisture, chemical composition and physical composition in corn samples ready to be loaded for overseas shipment.

This information is valuable for U.S. international corn customers, many of whom have come to anticipate its findings each year. USGC’s global staff and membership will start presenting the report’s results to interested customers during the coming month.

“The United States is the only country that releases such a comprehensive report on the quality of its corn crop,” said USGC Manager of Global Trade Manuel Sanchez, who will use the report’s results in his work with overseas customers. “International customers know this and eagerly await its release. This year is no exception.”

This year’s report is based on 411 yellow commodity corn samples collected from corn export shipments as they underwent the U.S. government-licensed export sampling and inspection process. The report covers both waterborne and rail export cargoes with results reported as U.S. aggregate and with details from three regions, the Gulf, Pacific Northwest and Southern Rail.
Important findings from the 2014-15 report include the following:

• For all grade factors measured, the aggregate average is better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 standards.
• The average test weight was 74.0 kg/hl (57.5 lb/bu), which indicates good overall grain quality with well-filled kernels and a large percentage of horneous or hard endosperm.
• The average U.S. aggregate for broken corn and foreign materials (BCFM) was at the maximum for U.S. No. 2 corn.
• The average U.S. aggregate for total damage was below the 3% limit for U.S. No. 1 grade with 69.6% of samples at or below the limit for No. 1 corn. Nearly 98% of samples were below the limit of 5% for No. 2.
• U.S. aggregate average moisture across all samples was 14.5%, the same as in 2013-14.
• All samples were safely below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) action and advisory levels for aflatoxins and DON.

“Overall, the report indicates U.S. corn at the point of export meets the requirements for U.S. No. 2,” Sanchez said. “One thing of note was the hardness of the 2014 U.S. corn crop. We believe this was due to the favorable growing conditions the crop experienced, which led to larger corn kernels than last year with hard endosperms of 70 to 100 percent."

The hardness of the 2014 corn crop is one example of a trait that has varied year-to-year. With four years of report data now available, users can begin to develop an average baseline and track trends. For the first time this year, the report includes three-year-averages for the different characteristics to aid in this analysis.

The newly-released export cargo quality report is a companion to the Council’s 2014/2015 Corn Harvest Quality Report, which details the quality of U.S. corn at the time of harvest. Click here to view the harvest quality report that was released in December 2014.

The report is available here.