News & Events
Multiple forms of technology are available to improve production on the United States’ 2 million farms of all sizes. Beyond computer and Internet access, which is available on about 71 percent of U.S. crop farms (2013 report), various methods of technology are used in coordination with one another to increase efficiency, minimize labor and enhance sustainability.
When U.S. farmers replaced their horse-drawn equipment with tractors in the early 1900s, their crop productivity took a mighty leap forward. Technology on the farm has continually evolved to increase efficiency, improve yields and drive production and profitability. In the 21st century, this is due in part to the development of precision agriculture tools.
A major strength of the U.S. grain production and marketing system is the variety of consistent, impartially tested grades, classes and prices that it can offer customers around the world. In the U.S. marketing system, quality requirements for grain exports are governed by both contract and specifications and complex, constantly evolving, government-regulated guidelines that cover the inspection, sampling, grading and weighing of grain. These grains standards and inspection procedures are designed to ensure a uniform product and to facilitate the trading and marketing of U.S. grain.
U.S. farmers produce grain in a wide variety of geographical regions with major differences in soil, temperature and climate. However, the management tools they use to meet their goals of producing and harvesting a quality corn crop are similiar. Growing conditions, timing of harvest, handling equipment, storage practices and transportation procedures all affect grain quality. Finally, when it comes time for official grading, there are essential chemical and physical properties that influence the final grade assignment.
Keep in touch with U.S. corn growers as they prepare for, plant, grow and harvest the 2015 U.S. corn crop. A Facebook page – Growing the U.S. Corn Crop – is now available for overseas buyers and customers to gain insight and information directly from farmers throughout the United States.
Overseas customers and end-users can stay updated on the condition and quality of the 2015 U.S. corn crop in real time through photos and updates provided by farmers. The page will also share a series of videos during planting, growing and harvest.
Off-farm grain storage at elevators offers much more capacity than on-farm bins, and U.S farmers with large production volume often sell their grain at harvest to these facilities. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States’ off-farm commercial storage capacity is 272 million metric tons (10.7 billion bushels).
The U.S. Grains Council has issued its 2014/2015 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, which measures the quality of U.S. corn samples ready to be loaded for overseas shipment. This is the fourth year for the report and is a companion to the 2014/2015 Corn Harvest Quality Report that provides details about the quality of the U.S. corn crop at the time of harvest.
Early 2014/2015 U.S. corn exports were, on average, better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 corn on all grade factors, while moisture was the same as the previous year.
For U.S. farmers, corn quality starts on the farm - even before seed is planted in the spring. Farmers choose varieties that are complementary to the local soils, climates and planting locations based on characteristics such as rate of maturity, fast dry-down and yield potential. From harvest to storage, stringent management techniques are put into place to ensure the grain remains at its highest quality grade before it is used on farm or marketed elsewhere.
Every bushel of U.S. corn, sorghum and barley moving to overseas markets passes thorugh a U.S. export port, a system known worldwide for its efficiency and certification procedures.
The vast majority of this grain bound for international markets is sold in large volume bulk cargo loads. Smaller orders sometimes go out through containers, often through West Coast ports.