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Corn quality report released for 2017-18 crop

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An excellent growing season resulted in record yields and good quality for the 2017 corn crop, according to the U.S. Grain Council’s (USGC) latest corn quality report.

The “2017/2018 Corn Harvest Quality Report” is the seventh in USGC’s annual corn quality survey. The report revealed that the majority of 2017 corn crop conditions were rated as good or excellent during the growing season, leading to strong plant health, good kernel size and a projected record yield of 370.3 million metric tons (14.58 billion bu.), the second-largest crop on record.

“The council’s mission is one of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives, and as part of this mission, the council is pleased to offer this report as a service to our partners,” USGC chairman and Iowa farmer Deb Keller noted in the report’s greetings. “We hope this report continues in its role of providing accurate and timely insight into the quality of the 2017 U.S. corn crop.”

The report showed that 95.1% of U.S. corn samples tested rated at U.S. grade No. 2 or better, largely the result of the extended planting period, a warm, wet vegetative period, a cool, dry and prolonged grain-filling period and a warm, wet and slow harvest.

An average test weight of 58.4 lb./bu. (75.2 kg per hectoliter) was higher than the five-year average and indicates good kernel filling and maturation, USGC said. An average 100-kernel weight of 36.07 g was higher than the previous two years, signifying larger kernels than in previous years.

About 98% of samples tested below the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s action level for aflatoxins of 20 parts per billion, while 100% of the samples tested below the FDA advisory level for vomitoxins for chicken, cattle, hogs and other animals.

“The corn harvest quality report provides timely information about the quality of the current U.S. corn crop at harvest as it enters international merchandising channels,” USGC said, adding that the information will be supplemented by a second report, the “2017/2018 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report,” scheduled for release in early 2018, that will measure corn quality at export terminals at the point of loading for international shipment.

“The council’s series of quality reports uses consistent and transparent methodology to allow for comparison with past years’ quality,” Keller noted. “This enables buyers to make well-informed decisions and have confidence in the capacity and reliability of the U.S. corn market.”

As the report is released, USGC is also beginning its annual rollout events to present its findings to buyers around the world, starting in Southeast Asia. These presentations, meetings and conferences will continue through the first quarter of 2018 and aim to arm participants with clear expectations regarding the quality of corn for this marketing year.

Recently completed corn quality events in Colombia covered six cities and included participants representing major commercial feed producers, the country’s largest broiler producer, the largest layer producers and traders, government representatives, port authorities and private customs agencies. The crop quality information was accompanied by presentations on U.S. corn grading and handling, which helped provide a better understanding of how U.S. corn is moved and controlled through export channels.

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