USGC releases corn, sorghum harvest quality reports

By Erin Voegele | January 27, 2017

The U.S. Grains Council recently published the first two of its annual reports on corn and sorghum harvest quality, reporting that U.S. farmers produced an estimated 387 million metric tons (15.24 billion bushels) of corn in 2016, along with 12 million metric tons of sorghum.

The USGC’s Corn Harvest Quality report includes information on corn use, ending stocks and a future outlook. Ethanol use is among the factors addressed.

According to the report, corn used for food, seed and other non-ethanol industrial purposes has remained fairly constant over the past four marketing years. While the amount of corn used for ethanol production as lower in marketing year 2012-’13 relative to marketing years 2014-’15 and 2015-’16, the USGC said corn used for ethanol production has been stable in the last three completed marketing years.

The report notes that the record-setting size of the 2016 corn crop has created abundant supply for the 2016-’17 marketing year, keeping prices low and driving projected domestic use to the highest levels on record. While corn use for feed, seed and non-ethanol industrial purposes is expected to remain largely unchanged, projected marketing year 2016-’17 corn use for ethanol is expected to be slightly higher than the previous marketing year. The USGC attributed the projected rise in ethanol use, in part, to low gas prices supporting increased domestic gasoline demand. Additional factors include competitive ethanol blend prices, small increases in ethanol production efficiency and moderate increases in substitution of corn as an ethanol feedstock.

Overall, the USGC expects corn usage for ethanol and coproducts to reach 134.6 million metric tons during the 2016-’17 marketing year, up from 132.2 million metric tons in 2015-’16 and 132.3 million metric tons in 2014-’15.

Regarding corn quality, which is based on 624 yellow commodity corn samples taken from within 12 of the top-producing and exporting states, the report notes the average test weight of the samples was 58.3 pounds per bushel, indicating good kernel filling and maturation. No observed heat damage was noted. More than 96 percent of the samples were within the range for U.S. No. 1 grade for broken corn and foreign material. Average elevator moisture was 16 percent, while average protein concentration was 8.6 percent on a dry basis. Average oil concentration was 4 percent on a dry basis and average starch concentration was 72.5 percent on a dry basis.

The Sorghum Harvest Quality report is based on 254 commodity sorghum samples taken from within nine top-producing states. The average test weight was 59.1 pounds per bushel, which indicates good kernel filling and maturation. More than 86 percent of the samples were at or below the limit for U.S. No. 1 grade for broken kernels and foreign material. Neither tannis nor heat damage were observed. Average protein concentration was 8.5 percent on a dry basis while average starch concentration and oil concentration on dry basis were 72.6 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.