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Corn Quality Patterns in U.S. Markets

C. R. Hurburgh, Jr.

Data on U.S. corn quality were summarized by geographic region and market location. There were significant variations in composition (protein, oil, starch) within and across regions. Intraregional composition differences are economically significant at the first handler level, but one uncontrolled commingling will eliminate any usable differences. Physical quality, as measured by U.S. grade factors, did not show regional patterns.

Corn breakage [Broken Corn Foreign Material (BCFM)] increases steadily through the market chain, beginning at about 1% at harvest. The data showed a 0.5% BCFM increase per transfer to be a reasonable estimate. Breakage susceptibility does not change after its initial value set by harvesting and drying practices. Changes in particle-size grade factors will not provide incentives to change practices that increase breakage susceptibility. Keywords. Corn, Grades and standards, End-use value, Breakage, Protein, Composition.