Corn Export Cargo Quality Report 2013/2014


The average aggregate quality of the corn assembled for export early in the 2013/14 marketing year was better than U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors. In addition, the incidences of positive levels of aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON) test results were very low, suggesting, on average, low levels of aflatoxins and DON in export shipments. Moisture content was higher than in either of the previous years. Chemical and physical attributes were similar to 2011/12 export samples, but below that of the 2012/13 samples on some factors. Notable U.S. Aggregate quality attributes of the early 2013/14 export samples include:


  • Average test weight of 57.3 lb/bu (73.8 kg/hl) indicates overall good quality. Although lower than in the previous two years, about 83% of all samples were above the limit for U.S. No. 1.
  • BCFM (2.9%) was below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2, but above 2012/13 (2.7%). BCFM predictably increased as the crop moved from harvest (0.9%) through the market channel to export.
  • Total damage (1.7%) increased during storage and transport as expected, but was lower at export than 2012/13 (2.0%).
  • Average moisture (14.5%) was higher than in the previous two years. Average harvest moisture was also higher in 2013 than in 2012 and 2011, indicating more artificial drying was needed for the 2013 crop than for the previous two crops.


  • Average protein content (8.6%) was lower than 2012/13 (9.2%), but appears to have returned closer to normal and was very close to 2011/12 (8.7%).
  • Starch content (73.7%) followed the opposite of the protein trend, and was higher than 2012/13 (73.5%), but lower than 2011/12 (74.1%).
  • Oil content (3.7%) was the same as 2012/13, but was slightly above 2011/12 (3.6%).
  • Protein, starch and oil percentages all had narrower ranges and lower standard deviations at export than at the harvest level. This finding was expected, in part, because grains become more homogenous after aggregation from numerous harvest level sources.


  • Average stress cracks (16%) was higher and a higher percentage of the samples was distributed with 20% or more stress cracks than in the previous two years, likely due to more artificial drying of the 2013 crop. However, the majority of samples still had stress cracks less than 20% and should have reduced rates of breakage during handling.
  • Kernel volume and 100-kernel weight were significantly lower than 2012/13 and 2011/12, indicating smaller kernel sizes in early 2013/14 corn exports than the previous two years.
  • True density (1.287 g/cm3) was significantly lower than 2012/13 (1.297 g/cm3).
  • Whole kernels (88.6%) was lower than 2012/13 (89.9%).
  • Horneous endosperm (82%) was lower than 2012/13 (85%).


  • All of the export samples tested below the FDA action level of 20 ppb for aflatoxins. A significantly higher proportion of the export samples tested below 5 ppb aflatoxin than in the 2012/13 and 2011/12 samples.
  • 100% of the corn export samples tested below the FDA advisory levels for DON (5 ppm for hogs and other animals and 10 ppm for chicken and cattle). About 95% of the samples tested below 0.5 ppm DON, which was about the same as 2012/13 and higher than 2011/12.