The U.S. Grain Council's (USGC) Corn Harvest Quality Report reveals that while the 2012 crop was hit by the worst drought in decades, quality of the crop was high it has showed year-over-year improvement in average test weight, protein levels, and density, as well as lower moisture and broken corn and foreign material (BCFM) than the 2011 crop.
Data indicates the average test weight for the 2012-13 crop was 58.8 lbs. per bu., an increase over 2011 and more than 2 lbs. per bu. above the grade limit for No. 1 U.S. corn. At the same time, BCFM was lower, as were the number of damaged kernels. Moisture, at 15.3%, was also lower than last year. The frequency of stress cracks, which indicate the relative susceptibility of kernels to break up during handling, are up marginally (from 3% last year to 4% this year), which could be an indicator that the crop will be more susceptible to breakage during handling, information that may turn up in the Corn Export Cargo Quality Report in the spring.
The harvest report assess the quality of the U.S. crop as it is delivered from farms to local elevators, the first step in entering international marketing channels. It will be followed in April 2013 by the second annual Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, which assess quality at the point of export. USGC produces the reports so global importers will have access to reliable and comparable data from year to year, with samples being gathered and tested using transparent and consistent methods.
For the harvest quality report, samples of U.S. corn were gathered from 12 states that combined are the source for 99% of U.S. corn exports. Tests conducted on the samples cover grading factors like test weight, physical factors such as stress cracks and other items such as moisture, protein starch, oil and mycotoxins.