The overall quality of the 2014 U.S. corn crop was good, with 88% of samples rating at grade No. 2 or better, according to the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) 2014/2015 Corn Harvest Quality Report.

According to the report, the 2014 corn crop is entering the marketing channels with the following key characteristics:

• average test weight was 57.6 lbs./bushel, down from 57.9 lbs. in 2013 and 58.8 lbs. in 2012.

• low levels of broken corn and foreign material, with 96.2% below the limit for No. 1 grade corn.

• 100% of sampled corn testing below the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aflatoxin action level of 20 parts per billion, and below the FDA action advisory levels for DON (10 ppm for cattle). However, greater incidences of DON (percent of samples testing positive for DON) were detected in the 2014 corn crop compared to the 2013 and 2012 crops.

• protein concentration (8.5% dry basis) was lower than in 2013 (8.7%), 2012 (9.4%) and the three-year average (8.9%), likely due to higher yields in 2014.

• comparable starch concentration (73.5% dry basis), comparable to 2013 and higher than the three-year average (73.3%), indicating relatively good kernel filling and maturation. 

• higher oil concentration (3.8% dry basis) compared to 2013, 2012 and the three-year average (all 3.7%).

• slightly lower average moisture content (16.6%) than in 2013.

• the incidence of stress cracks was down. However, total damage levels were significantly higher, likely due to weather conditions, though 94% of samples were still below the limit for No. 2 corn.

This report is based on 629 yellow commodity corn samples taken from defined areas within 12 of the top corn-producing and exporting states, including Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Inbound samples were collected from local grain elevators to observe quality at the point of origin and to provide representative information about the variability of quality characteristics across the geographic regions.

USGC has chronicled 2014 growing conditions in its U.S. corn production video available online at http://tinyurl.com/USGCCornVideo.

Click here to view a PDF of the 2014/2015 Corn Harvest Quality Report.