The 2023 US corn crop exceeded expectations both in terms of quantity and quality, according to the US Grains Council’s (USGC) 2023-24 Corn Harvest Quality Report.

The report, released on Nov. 30, is based on 611 yellow corn samples taken from defined areas within 12 of the top corn-producing and exporting states. Inbound samples were collected from local grain elevators to measure and analyze quality at the point of origin and provide representative information about the variability of the quality characteristics across the diverse geographic regions.

It noted that warm and dry weather conditions in April and May allowed producers to plant ahead of schedule, and despite concerns about continued dryness in June, healthy rainfall returned later in the summer. This allowed the crop to properly mature and resulted in a bumper crop of 386.97 million tonnes.

The USGC report also revealed that the average aggregate quality of the representative samples tested was better than the grade factor requirements for US No. 1 grade. The report also showed that 88% of the samples met the grade factor requirements for US No. 1 grade and 96.7% met the grade factor requirements for US No. 2.

This year’s corn protein concentration registered at 8.8%, an improvement on the five-year average of 8.5%. The crop also showed lower average total damage and average moisture content when compared to the five-year average. The sampled corn contained the lowest percentage of broken corn and foreign material to date.

The chemical composition of the crop remained in a healthy range, as 99.5% of the samples tested below the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action level for aflatoxins and 100% of the samples tested below the 5.0 parts per million FDA advisory level for deoxynivalenol. Additionally, 98.3% tested below the FDA’s strictest guidance level of 5.0 parts per million for fumonisin.

The Council will present its findings to buyers around the world in a series of roll-out events, beginning in China on Dec. 12. Presentations will continue in India, South Korea, Panama and Taiwan through the first quarter of 2024 and aim to offer participants clear expectations regarding the quality of corn for this marketing year.

“The Council is proud to produce this annual report that proves the quality and abundance of US corn year over year,” said Brent Boydston, chairman of the USGC. “The transparency it provides to buyers helps them make informed decisions and takes another step toward developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives. This crop’s incredible volume allows the United States to remain the world’s leading corn exporter, accounting for an estimated 26.4% of global corn exports.”