The global corn market is increasingly competitive. To adequately compete, U.S. corn has to be available, priced right compared to other corn, and of good quality. This isn’t so different from how you chose one pair of shoes over another, is it?
To give the U.S. an advantage, we attempt to provide good information about the quality of our corn crop each year. Because it’s usually very good, this information helps us compete with other countries selling corn to the global market.
The USDA also grades our corn. You can see the requirements of each grade in the graphic above. The general idea is that heavier corn with no heat damage is the higher grades.
In 2018, for the corn just now coming out of the field, we might expect higher grades because the weather has naturally dried out the corn and farmers likely will not have to artificially dry the grain in a dryer. This means, less heat damage. However, because the year was a pretty dry year, the weight of the corn might not be as heavy due to a lack of moisture.
It’s a balancing act to deliver the most perfect corn you can to your first purchaser. But even after you’ve delivered perfect number 1 corn, the additional handling needed to get it to an overseas market might reduce the corn quality.
Farmers keep trying to raise perfect quality corn! Some factors are outside their control, but they understand that perfect corn demands premium prices!
Although corn (or maize, as it’s known throughout much of the world) is grown in nearly all 50 states, production is primarily concentrated in the northern and Midwestern states—collectively known as the U.S. Corn Belt.
Farmers in the Corn Belt grew quite a bit of corn in 2017 – enough to satisfy some pretty large markets with corn to spare! Corn prices are low right now because farmers keep growing a lot of corn and the market demand isn’t keeping up. U.S. policies about ethanol and trade are part of that impact.
For the market year September 2016 – July 2017, farmers sold Mexico 21.7 million bushels of corn for just over $6 billion. They also sold 15.8 million bushels to Japan for $5.5 billion and 8.1 million bushels to South Korea for $2.8 billion. These three countries are our largest corn importers.
Farmers are proud of the corn they grow and the economic activity they spur for our country. With these numbers, who wouldn’t be?
Thank you to A Spicy Perspective for this oh-so-yummy recipe using Illinois’s state snack!
Halloween Popcorn Mix
Candy coated party popcorn mixed with favorite Halloween candies!
12 ounces purple candy melts
14 cup popped popcorn (from 1/2 cups kernels)
11 ounces candy pumpkins
1 cup green chocolate coated candies
1 cup candy corns
3 tablespoons Halloween sprinkles
- Place the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat, until smooth.
- Place the popcorn on a large rimmed baking sheet. Thoroughly salt the popcorn. Then pour the melted candy over the top and stir to coat. Once coated, apply the sprinkles.
- Allow the popcorn to dry. Then break apart and toss in the candy.
- Store in an air tight container until ready to serve.
Popcorn and field corn (called flour corn in this video) have a common ancestry, with popcorn having a higher moisture content that, when heated, liquefies the starch and causes the pop.