Corn Harvest Quality and Export Cargo Reports

The global corn market is increasingly competitive, and the U.S. Grains Council believes that the availability of accurate, consistent, and comparable information is in the long-term interests of all concerned. Improved information will facilitate increased trade – and when trade works, the world wins.

In this effort, the U.S. Grains Council design two reports, the Corn Harvest Quality Report and Export Cargo Quality Report, to help international buyers of U.S. corn understand the initial quality of U.S. yellow commodity corn as it enters the merchandising channel and as it is assembled for export.

Corn Harvest Quality Report

In December 2013, the Council released the U.S. Grains Council Corn Harvest Quality Report 2013/14. The Harvest Report assesses the quality of the current U.S. corn harvest as it enters international merchandizing channels. Click here for the most recent Harvest Report - 2013-2014.

The Harvest Report is based on yellow commodity corn samples taken from areas within 12 of the top corn producing and exporting states. Inbound samples are collected from local grain elevators to observe quality at the point of origin and to provide representative information about the variability of the quality characteristics across the diverse geographic regions.

The sampling areas in the 12 states are divided into three general groupings that are labeled Export Catchment Areas (ECAs). These three ECAs are identified by the three major pathways to export markets:Export Catchment Areas

  1. The Gulf ECA consists of areas that typically export corn through U.S. Gulf ports;
  2. The Pacific Northwest (PNW) ECA includes areas exporting corn through Pacific Northwest and California ports; and
  3. The Southern Rail ECA comprises areas generally exporting corn to Mexico.

Sample test results are reported at the U.S. Aggregate level and for each of the three ECAs, providing a general perspective on the geographic variability of U.S. corn quality.

The quality characteristics of the corn identified at harvest establish the foundation for the quality of the grain ultimately arriving at the export customers' doors. However, as corn passes through the U.S. marketing system, it is mingled with corn from other locations, aggregated into trucks, barges and rail cars, stored, and loaded and unloaded several times. Therefore, the quality and condition of the corn change from the point of first sale to the export elevator. For this reason, the Harvest Report should be considered care¬fully in tandem with the U.S. Grains Council Corn Export Cargo Quality Report. As always, the quality of an export cargo of corn is established by the contract between buyer and seller, and buyers are free to negotiate any quality factor that is of importance to them.

Corn Export Cargo Quality Report

First released in May 2012, the U.S. Grains Council Corn Export Cargo Quality Report provides the results of tests on corn samples collected during the U.S. government-licensed sampling and inspection process for U.S. corn waterborne export shipments. Corn quality information is important to foreign buyers as they make decisions about purchase contracts and processing needs for corn for feed, food or industrial use. This information is important also to all of the other stakeholders in the corn value chain: seed companies, corn producers, handlers, shippers, traders and processors. Click here to see the most recent Export Cargo Quality Report 2013-14.

As with the Harvest Report, this report is an annual survey of the quality of the U.S. corn exports early in the marketing year. These two reports include information on grades and standards factors and moisture which may be compared to the annual U.S. Grains Exports: Quality Report published by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). Beyond that, these reports provide information on other important quality factors that have not been surveyed systematically in the past.

As these reports are compiled over several years, they will gain increased value for all stakeholders in the corn value chain – from seed to consumer – by enabling them to see patterns of corn quality based on growing, drying, handling, storage, and transport conditions across the years.

This Export Cargo Report is based on yellow commodity corn samples collected in key export areas. Samples are collected from corn export cargoes as they undergo the standard federal inspection and grading process performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration's (GIPSA) Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). The objective of this report is to survey corn quality at export and to provide information about the variability of the quality characteristics within the key export areas.

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