Corn Export Cargo Quality Report 2014/2015


The average aggregate quality of the corn assembled for export early in the 2014/2015 marketing year was better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors, while moisture content was the same as last year. Chemical attributes indicated higher oil in 2014/2015 but protein and starch were similar to 2013/2014. Physical attributes of stress cracks were lower, kernel size was larger, and true density was higher than 2013/2014 export samples. In addition, the incidences of positive levels of aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON) test results were low, suggesting, on average, low levels of aflatoxins and DON in export shipments. Notable U.S. Aggregate quality attributes of the early 2014/2015 export samples include:


  • Average test weight of 57.5 lb/bu (74.0 kg/hl) indicates overall good quality. Although it was lower than 3YA1, it was higher than 2013/2014. About 85% of all samples were above the limit for U.S. No. 1.
  • BCFM (3.0%) was below the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2, but above 2013/2014, 2012/2013, and 3YA. BCFM predictably increased as the crop moved from harvest through the market channel to export, from 0.8% to 3.0%.
  • Total damage (2.3%) increased during storage and transport as expected, but was higher than previous years and 3YA.
  • Average moisture (14.5%) was the same as last year, but higher than 3YA.


  • Average protein content (8.6%) was the same as 2013/2014 (8.6%), and was lower than 2012/2013 (9.2%) and 3YA (8.8%).
  • Starch content (73.7%) was the same as 2013/2014 (73.7%) and lower than 3YA (73.8%).
  • Oil content (3.9%) was higher than 2013/2014 (3.7%) and 3YA (3.7%).
  • Protein, starch and oil percentages all had narrower ranges and lower standard deviations at export than at harvest. This finding was expected, in part, because grains become more homogenous after aggregation from numerous harvest level sources.


  • Average stress cracks (14%) was lower than last year, yet higher than 3YA (12%). More samples had less than 20% stress cracks in 2014/2015 than 2013/2014, which should enable low rates of breakage during handling
  • Kernel volume and 100-kernel weight were higher than 2013/2014 and 3YA, indicating larger kernel sizes in 2014/2015 corn exports than in previous years.
  • Average kernel volumes and 100-k weights for 2014/2015, the previous two years, and 3YA, indicate kernels from the Pacific Northwest ECA were smaller than those from the Gulf and Southern Rail ECAs.
  • True density (1.295 g/cm3) was higher than 2013/2014 (1.287 g/cm3) and very close to 3YA.
  • Whole kernels (88.4%) was close to 2013/2014 (88.6%) and 3YA (88.7%).
  • Horneous endosperm (82%) was the same as 2013/2014 (82%) but lower than 3YA (84%). The true density and horneous endosperm tests indicate corn hardness will be unchanged or slightly higher than last year.


  • All of the export samples tested below the FDA action level of 20 ppb for aflatoxins. A higher proportion of the export samples tested below 5 ppb aflatoxin than 2012/2013, but a lower proportion tested below 5 ppb aflatoxin than 2013/2014.
  • 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 2013/2014 and lower than 2011/2012.