Moisture content (water weight in kernels per total weight of kernels (i.e., water plus dry matter)) is reported on offcial grade certifcates, but does not determine which numerical grade will be assigned to the sample. Moisture content affects the amount of dry matter being sold and purchased. Also an indicator for potential drying, moisture has potential implications for storability, and affects test weight. Higher moisture content at harvest increases the chance of kernel damage occurring during harvesting and drying. Moisture content and the amount of mechanical drying required will also affect breakage and germination. Extremely wet kernels may be a precursor to high mold damage later in storage or transport. While the weather during the growing season affects yield and the development of the kernels, harvest moisture is influenced largely by the timing of harvest and harvest weather conditions.
- The U.S. Export Aggregate moisture contents recorded at export loadout facilities in the 2015/2016 samples averaged 13.8%, with a minimum value of 12.3% and a maximum value of 14.6%.
- The moisture content values for the 2015/2016 U.S. Export Aggregate samples had a standard deviation of 0.34%.
- Average U.S. Export Aggregate moisture was lower than average U.S. Harvest Aggregate moisture (14.1%); however, the standard deviation of export samples was much lower than that for the harvest samples (1.19%).
- The 2015/2016 moisture values were distributed with 86.8% of the samples containing 14% or less moisture and the other 13.2% of the samples between 14% and 15% moisture. The 14% moisture level is the base moisture used by most elevators for discounts and a level considered safe for storage for short periods during low winter-time temperatures.
- Average moisture content was slightly higher in samples for the NOLA EO (13.8%), with more variability than in samples for the Texas EO (13.6%).