I. HARVEST QUALITY HIGHLIGHTS
The 2014 U.S. corn growing season experienced later than normal planting, a cool summer and a delayed harvest, resulting in higher harvest moistures than in 2012 yet lower than in 2013. Nonetheless, overall corn quality is good and U.S. corn producers experienced record high yields in 2014, resulting in the largest U.S. corn crop on record.
The overall quality of the 2014 corn crop for many factors was good, with 88% that would grade No. 2 or better. The 2014 corn crop is entering the marketing channel with the following characteristics:
GRADE FACTORS AND MOISTURE
- Test weight of 57.6 lb/bu (74.2 kg/hl), with 77.4% above the limit for No. 1 grade corn, and 94.7% above the limit for No. 2. While lower than 2013 and 3YA1, this test weight indicates good kernel filling and maturation.
- Low levels of BCFM (0.8%), with 96.2% below the limit for No. 1 grade, indicating little cleaning will be required.
- Significantly higher total damage (1.7%) than previous years, with a wider distribution. However, 94.8% of the samples were still below the limit for No. 2 corn. The samples at the upper limit of the distribution may require special attention to prevent further deterioration.
- Lower elevator moisture content (16.6%) than 2013, but higher than 3YA. The distribution shows a lower percentage above 17% moisture, indicating less drying of high moisture corn than in 2013 and therefore potential for fewer stress cracks.
- Lower protein concentration (8.5% dry basis) than 2013, 2012 and 3YA. The lower protein concentration is likely attributable to higher yields in 2014 than in the previous years.
- Comparable starch concentration (73.5% dry basis) to 2013 and higher than 3YA, indicating relatively good kernel filling and maturation, which will be beneficial for wet millers.
- Higher oil concentration of 3.8% dry basis than 2013, 2012, and 3YA.
- Lower stress cracks (8%) and stress crack index (20.2) than 2013 yet higher than 3YA, with 79.3% of samples having stress cracks less than 10%. This indicates susceptibility to breakage may be slightly less than last year.
- Consistent kernel volumes (0.27 cm3) with 2013, 2012 and 3YA.
- Lower true density (1.259 g/cm3), horneous endosperm (82%) and test weight than 3YA, indicating a softer corn. However, there is still a good supply of corn suitable for dry milling – 30.2% of the samples above 1.275 true density, 62.1% of the samples above 80% horneous endosperm, and 48.0% of the samples above 58 lb/bu test weight.
- Significantly higher whole kernels (93.6%) than 2013 and close to 3YA.
- Significantly lower incidences of aﬂatoxins detected compared to the 2012 corn crop and analogous incidence compared to the 2013 corn crop. 100% of the 2014 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 2013 and 2012). However, greater incidences of DON (percent of samples testing positive for DON) were detected in the 2014 corn crop compared to the 2013 and 2012 crops.
13YA represents the simple average of the quality factor’s average or standard deviation from the Harvest Reports 2011/12, 2012/13