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!