Photo Essay: Trade Team Puts 2018 Corn Crop In Perspective for Taiwan Customers

Seeing the U.S. corn crop and talking directly with farmers, exporters and other key players in the corn value chain provides unmatched market information for the buyers and end-users of U.S. coarse grains and co-products who take part in U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade teams each year. Key members of major feed millers and end-users from Taiwan learned this lesson in August during a recent visit to Missouri, Illinois and Washington state. To follow other activities like this trip, check out the Council’s Flickr or Instagram accounts.

“This very comprehensive trip provided a better understanding of the whole supply chain from seed planting to corn harvest to transportation via truck, country elevator, rail, transloader, storage and bulk vessel,” said USGC Taiwan Director Michael Lu, who accompanied the team, his first since joining the Council. “Facing competition from other suppliers, activities like this team assure customers of the quality and reliability of U.S. coarse grains and the comparative advantages of U.S. origin.”

The Council has maintained an office in Taiwan since 1973, helping the market grow to the fifth largest for U.S. corn in the 2016/2017 marketing year, with purchases of nearly three million metric tons (118 million bushels) valued at $511 million.

To strengthen that trade relationship, this team visited corn fields, grain inspection centers, grain elevators, port facilities, life science companies and ethanol plants as an educational effort focused on the quality and capabilities of U.S. agriculture as a supplier to Taiwan.

Follow along with this trade team in the photos below.

Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Michael Lu first trade team
The August trade team was a first for Michael Lu, who joined the Council earlier in the month as the new Taiwan director.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Monsanto
The Taiwan customers on the team first learned how newer breeding methods and biotechnology are enabling U.S. farmers to maintain both a stable supply of corn and good quality.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Family Operation
Visiting family farming operations makes for an unforgettable journey through the U.S. corn value chain.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - on-farm storage
The increase in on-farm storage impressed the Taiwan team, a further demonstration of the efficiency and innovation of U.S. farmers.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Drone
In addition to in-field practices, the team witnessed how U.S. farmers are using cutting-edge technology like drones to continuously monitor and evaluate the needs of their crops.

Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Technology

Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - ADM
From the farm, the Taiwan team followed corn’s path through the U.S. grain value chain – starting with the grain elevator system.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Storage
The team learned how modern ethanol plants have increased capacity and production. Taiwan does not yet import ethanol, but the country does import ethanol’s co-product, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - DDGS group photo
Almost all the large feed mills in Taiwan use DDGS, but at low inclusion rates.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - DDGS
Evaluating DDGS at the source builds confidence in U.S. DDGS quality, providing a foundation for the Council to encourage feed millers and end-users to increase inclusion rates and, in turn, overall demand for the co-product.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Temco
Whether in the form of raw corn, DDGS or ethanol, the quality and capability of U.S. export channels are crucially important for Taiwanese customers to understand so they make the most efficient purchases of grains products.
Taiwan Grain Quality Survey Team - Corn Field - 02
The team will take their knowledge of the 2018 U.S. corn crop home with them to Taiwan, reliable and timely market information the Council will supplement through reports like the Corn Harvest Quality Report and the Corn Export Quality Report later this year.