Corn Harvest Quality Report 2017/2018

Kernel Volume

Kernel volume in cubic centimeters (cm3) is often indicative of growing conditions. If conditions are dry, kernels may be smaller than average. If drought hits later in the season, kernels may have lower fill. Small or round kernels are more difficult to degerm. Additionally, small kernels may lead to increased cleanout losses for processors and higher yields of fiber.


U.S. Aggregate kernel volume averaged 0.28 cm3 in 2016, which was higher than 0.27 cm3 in 2015, 2014, and 5YA.

Kernel volume variability was constant across the years. The standard deviation for U.S. Aggregate kernel volume was 0.02 cm3 for 2016, 2015, 2014, and 5YA.

Kernel volume range in 2016 (0.18 cm3) was wider than in 2015 (0.15 cm3) and slightly narrower than in 2014 (0.20 cm3).

The kernel volumes in 2016 were distributed so that 92.1% of the samples had kernel volumes of 0.25 cm3 or greater, compared to 2015 (86%) and 2014 (75%). This distribution indicates there was a higher percentage of large kernels in 2016 compared to the previous two years.

Kernel volume for the Gulf, Pacific Northwest, and Southern Rail ECAs averaged 0.28 cm3, 0.27 cm3, and 0.28 cm3, respectively. The Pacific Northwest ECA had lower average kernel volume than the other two ECAs in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 5YA.