Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik DTN Markets Editor

Thursday 12/06/12

86% of Corn Crop Aflatoxin-Free, Report Shows

The overall quality of this year's corn crop was good despite some drought-induced damage, according to an annual report from the U.S. Grains Council. The council tested corn samples provided by elevators in the 12 states that grow 99% of the corn bound for the export market to compile the group's second Harvest Quality Report.

"The samples tested demonstrate that this year's U.S. corn crop, while smaller due to the drought, is of outstanding quality overall," said Erick Erickson, USGC director of global strategies, in a press release.

The average test weight 58.8 lbs. per bushel, higher than last year and more than 2 lbs. above the grade limit for No. 1 U.S. corn, the report said. Low levels of foreign matter, damage and cracked kernels mean the crop will likely process well and with an average moisture of 15.3%, it's likely to store well.

Aflatoxin flourishes in droughty conditions and has dominated the conversation around the quality of the crop this year. The USGC study found that 86% of its samples tested below the Food and Drug Administration's 20 part per billion action level. That compares to 97.9% of the crop testing below acceptable levels in 2011.

Of 177 samples, only 25 this year were above the FDA action level. Fourteen samples showed aflatoxin contamination below the action level. The report notes that its study is only one measure of the potential mycotoxin presence in the corn crop, and that several more years of its quality study are needed to assess year-to-year patterns.

The USGC's report only assesses the quality of the current U.S. corn harvest as it enters merchandising channels, as quality can be affected by further handling, blending, storage conditions and other downstream factors. The report is designed for corn buyers and importers.

"With an increasingly competitive global market, the availability of accurate information is in the long-term best interest of U.S. farmers, exporters and international buyers," Erickson said. "We received a tremendously positive response to the inaugural reports from international buyers, so certainly there is a need for this type of information."

To view a full copy of the U.S. Grains Council's Corn Harvest Quality Report for the 2012/13 crop, you can find it here: http://bit.ly/…

Posted at 2:18PM CST 12/06/12 by Katie Micik
Comments (2)
Eight six percent aflatoxin free implies 14% with aflatoxin. If that applies to total US corn crop, that means there is over 1.5 billion bushels are affected; 1.2 billion more bushels than last year. That is huge.
Posted by Freeport IL at 9:38AM CST 12/07/12
You're right, if aflatoxin affected a hypothetical 1.5 billion bushels, that's just huge and it will require a lot of high quality bushels to blend it off, drawing down exportable supplies. I hesitate to draw that broad of a conclusion though simply because of the nature of the study and the lack of historical data. The USGC has only conducted this study twice, and this year it nearly doubled sample size. Once the study has built up a longer history we'll have a better idea of where this year falls in the continuum of contaminated crops. Does anyone know of other studies estimating how much of the corn crop was contaminated with aflatoxin this year?
Posted by KATIE MICIK at 9:56AM CST 12/07/12
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