The US Grains Council 2018/2019 Corn Harvest Quality Report has just been released. This is the eighth annual measurement survey of the quality of the US corn crop at harvest. These results are showing patterns in the impact of weather and growing conditions on the quality of US corn as it comes out of the field.
An unseasonably cold April last year, in most of the US, was followed by warm, favourable planting conditions in May. Planting and emergence was initially delayed but crop progress was soon at levels similar to the 5-year average (5YA) by mid-May. Warm, wet weather during the vegetative stage encouraged rapid growth and healthy-looking plants, producing a crop with a combined good to excellent condition rating that remained at or above 67% all season and is projected to have the highest average yield on record.
This year’s fast crop maturation allowed for rapid harvest progress in many regions of the country, signified by harvest progress remaining well above the 5YA throughout September. However, abundant rains hindered harvest in October, and progress regressed back to the 5YA.
Overall, the growing conditions in 2018 resulted in a crop with high test weight averages and kernels that were relatively large and dense. BCFM, stress cracks and whole kernels were also below or close to the 5YA. These observations show quality differences during the eight years, but overall, the 2018/2019 Harvest Report indicates good quality corn entering the market channel. Slightly over 77% of the samples met all grade factor requirements for No. 1 grade, and nearly 94% met the grade factor requirements for No. 2 grade. In addition, total damage and moisture levels were both slightly lower than the 5YA, which should be good for storability.
The eight-year data set has laid a foundation for evaluating trends and factors that impact corn quality. In addition, the cumulative Harvest Report measurement surveys enable export buyers to make year-to-year comparisons and assess patterns of corn quality based on crop growing conditions over the years.
This 2018/2019 Harvest Report is based on 618 yellow commodity corn samples taken from defined areas in 12 of the top corn-producing and exporting states. Inbound samples were collected from local grain elevators to measure and analyse quality at the point of origin and to provide representative information about the variability of the quality characteristics across the diverse geographic regions. – US Grain Council