Corn Harvest Quality Report 2013/2014


The 2013 U.S. corn growing season experienced later than normal planting and harvest, resulting in higher harvest moistures than in 2011 and 2012. Nonetheless, overall corn quality is good and U.S. corn producers experienced much higher yields in 2013 than the previous two years, resulting in the largest U.S. corn crop on record.

The overall quality of the 2013 corn crop for many factors was similar to 2011. The 2013 corn crop is entering the marketing channel with the following characteristics:


  • High test weight of 57.9 lb/bu (74.5 kg/hl), nearly 2 lb/bu above the limit for No. 1 grade, with 93.3% of the samples above the No. 2 grade minimum. While test weight is slightly lower than the previous two years, the results still indicate well filled kernels.
  • Low levels of BCFM (0.9%) similar to 2012 and 2011, well below the grade limit for No. 1 corn.
  • Low total damage (0.9% compared to 0.8% in 2012 and 1.1% in 2011) with no reported heat damage (same as in 2012 and 2011).
  • Elevator sample moisture average of 17.3%, which is higher than in 2012 and 2011. In 2013, 75% of the samples were above 15% moisture. This will require more drying or aeration at the elevators than in 2012 and 2011. The wide range in moisture contents will require careful segregation.


  • Average protein content of 8.7% dry basis, the same as recorded in 2011, yet lower than in 2012. The average protein is most likely a return to more normal levels.
  • Significantly higher starch content of 73.5% dry basis compared to 2012 (73.0%), offsetting the lower protein content and signifying relatively good kernel filling and maturation, results beneficial for wet millers.
  • Average oil content of 3.7% dry basis, about the same as in 2012 and 2011.


  • Stress cracks (9%), somewhat higher than in 2012 and 2011, possibly resulting in more susceptibility to breakage compared to the previous two years but still relatively low.
  • Average true densities and horneous (hard) endosperm, indicating moderate hardness in 2013 which should be good for wet milling and feeding.
  • Even with sample averages showing moderate hardness, more than 50% of all samples have test weight above 58 lb/bu, indicating that with selection, supplies of moderate to hard endosperm corn is available for dry millers.
  • Whole kernels (92.5%), slightly lower than 2012 and 2011, should still enable good storability.


  • A significantly lower incidence of aflatoxins detected in the 2013 corn crop compared to the 2012 corn crop. Around 99.4% of the corn samples tested below the FDA aflatoxin action level of 20 ppb.
  • 100% of the corn samples tested below the FDA advisory levels for DON (5 ppm for hogs and other animals and 10 ppm for chicken and cattle) (same as in 2012 and 2011).