Corn Export Cargo Quality Report 2016/2017

Export Cargo Quality Highlights

The average aggregate quality of the corn assembled for export early in the 2016/2017 marketing year was better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors, and average moisture content was below that in 2015/2016. Chemical composition attributes indicated higher protein, lower starch, and higher oil concentrations than 2015/2016. The early 2016/2017 corn exports had lower stress cracks, higher true density, but lower whole kernels and horneous endosperm than in 2015/2016. In addition, all of the samples’ aflatoxin and DON (deoxynivalenol or vomitoxin) test results were below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action and advisory levels, respectively. Notable U.S. Aggregate quality attributes of the 2016/2017 export samples include:

Grade Factors and Moisture

  • Higher average test weight of 57.4 lb/bu (73.8 kg/hl) than 2015/2016, indicating overall good quality, with over 96% of the samples above the limit for U.S. No. 1 grade.
  • Lower average BCFM (2.9%) than 2015/2016 and slightly lower than 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 0.7% to 2.9%.
  • Higher average total damage at export (2.7%) and harvest (2.6%) than 2015/2016, but under the 3.0% limit for U.S. No. 1 grade.
  • Average heat damage (0.0%) was the same as 2015/2016 and 5YA.
  • Slightly lower average moisture (14.3%) than 2015/2016 and 5YA (14.4%).

Chemical Composition

  • Higher average protein concentration (8.6% dry basis) than 2015/2016, and same as 5YA and the 2016 harvest average.
  • Lower average starch concentration (72.4% dry basis) than 2015/2016 and 5YA (73.8%), but similar to the 2016 harvest average (72.5%).
  • Higher average oil concentration (4.0% dry basis) than 2015/2016 and 5YA (3.8%), and same as the 2016 harvest average.

Physical Factors

  • Lower average stress cracks (5%) than 2015/2016 and 5YA (11%). The majority of the export samples (94.4%) had less than 15% stress cracks, which should result in low rates of breakage during handling.
  • Lower average stress crack index (11.6) than 5YA (29.6), indicating lower levels of double and multiple stress cracks.
  • Higher average 100-kernel weight (35.26 g) than 2015/2016, but average kernel volume (0.27 cm3) same as 2015/2016 and 5YA (0.27 cm3).
  • Higher average true density (1.285 g/cm3) than 2015/2016, but similar to 5YA (1.289 g/cm3).
  • Lower average percent of whole kernels (88.2%) than 2015/2016, but close to 5YA (88.8%).
  • Lower average horneous endosperm (79%) than 2015/2016 and 5YA (83%), indicating softer corn in 2016/2017 than in previous years. This implies there should be sufficient quantities of corn with desirable hardness for wet milling and livestock feed.


  • All of the export samples tested below the FDA action level of 20 ppb for aflatoxins. A lower proportion of the export samples had no detectable levels of aflatoxins than 2015/2016 and 2014/2015.
  • 100% of the corn export samples tested below the 5 ppm FDA advisory level for DON (same as in 2015/2016 and 2014/2015). There were more samples showing levels of DON above the FGIS “Lower Conformance Level” of 0.5 ppm in 2016/2017 than in 2015/2016 and 2014/2015. However, the maximum export sample test result observed in 2016/2017 was 1.3 ppm.