Corn Export Cargo Quality Report 2015/2016


The average aggregate quality of the corn assembled for export early in the 2015/2016 marketing year was better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors, and moisture content was below 2014/2015. Chemical attributes indicated higher oil and starch, and lower protein in 2015/2016 than the average of the previous four marketing years (4YA1). Physical attributes of stress cracks were lower with higher percentages of whole kernels; kernel size was smaller, and true density and horneous endosperm were lower, indicating softer corn than in 2014/2015. In addition, the incidences of positive levels of aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON) test results were low, suggesting that average levels of aflatoxins and DON in export shipments were low. Notable U.S. Aggregate quality attributes of the early 2015/2016 export samples include:


  • Lower average test weight of 57.3 lb/bu (73.7 kg/ hl) than last year and 4YA; however, it still indicates overall good quality with over 95% of the samples above the limit for U.S. No. 1 grade.
  • Similar BCFM (3.0%) to 2014/2015 and equal to the maximum limit for U.S. No. 2 grade (3.0%). BCFM predictably increased as the crop moved from harvest through the market channel to export, from 0.8% to 3.0%.
  • Lower total damage (1.9%) than 2014/2015 and well below the 3.0% limit for U.S. No. 1 grade.
  • Lower average moisture (14.4%) than 2014/2015, but same as 4YA.


  • Lower average protein concentration (7.8% dry basis) than 2014/2015, 4YA, and the 2015 harvest average (8.2%).
  • Higher starch concentration (73.9% dry basis) than 2014/2015 (73.7%), 4YA (73.8%) and the 2015 harvest average (73.6%).
  • Similar oil concentration (3.9% dry basis) to 2014/2015, but higher than 4YA (3.7%), and the 2015 harvest average (3.8%).
  • Average protein concentrations were higher for the Pacific Northwest ECA (8.4%) than for the Gulf (7.7%) and Southern Rail (7.7%) ECAs. Average protein concentrations have been consistently higher for the Pacific Northwest ECA than the other two ECAs for each of the last two years and 4YA.


  • Lower average stress cracks (6%) than 2014/2015 and 4YA. The majority of the export samples (96.8%) had less than 15% stress cracks, which should indicate low rates of breakage during handling.
  • Lower kernel volume and 100-kernel weight than 2014/2015, indicating smaller kernel sizes in 2015/2016 corn exports than in the previous year.
  • The Gulf ECA had the highest true density of the three ECAs for 2015/2016 and 4YA.
  • Lower true density (1.275 g/cm3) and horneous endosperm (80%) than 2014/2015 and 4YA, indicating softer corn in 2015/2016 than previous years.
  • Higher whole kernels (89.5%) than 2014/2015 and 4YA. The relatively high percentage of whole kernels, accompanied by low stress cracks, should be favorable for storability.


  • All of the export samples tested below the FDA action level of 20 ppb for aflatoxins. A higher proportion of the export samples had no detectable levels of aflatoxins than 2014/2015.
  • 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 99% of the samples had no detectable levels of DON, which was a higher percentage than both the 2014/2015 and 2013/2014 samples.