The U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) annual corn harvest quality report is now available to global customers, who will receive in-depth reviews of its results over the next two months at a series of conferences and consultations in major corn importing markets.
The first of these events took place in early December with two regional seminars in Cairo, Egypt, and Casablanca, Morocco, involving more than 130 participants from nine corn importing countries in the region. The countries included in the rollout events included Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
"Currently U.S. corn is very competitive in this region,” said Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade based in Washington, D.C. “In the first three months of this marketing year, the U.S. has exported 1.0 million metric tons (39.36 million bushels) of corn versus only 69,000 metric tons (2.7 million bushels) at the same time last marketing year. We want that surge to continue.”
The report noted that the most recent corn crop had an excellent crop condition during reproductive growth, as well as high yields, particularly from the western Corn Belt. “Overall, 2016 was characterized by a warm, dry vegetative period, followed by a warm and wet grain-filling period and harvest. Such favorable weather conditions in the United States have led to a projected record amount of corn in 2016 available for export.”
While Black Sea corn harvest is trickling into the Middle East and North Africa, the quality of U.S. corn is superior, and buyers are both claiming and showing in their purchases a strong preference for U.S. corn, USGC noted. “The harvest quality report confirmed that U.S. farmers have again produced another record corn crop and that the quality of that crop is once again excellent relative to the previous five years,” the group said.
The overall quality of the 2016 corn crop was better than the average of the previous five crop years (5YA) on most attributes, with 87.8% of the samples meeting the standards for U.S. No. 2 grade or better. In addition to desirable average levels of grade factors, the report said the 2016 U.S. corn crop is also entering the market channel with higher average test weight, kernel volume, oil concentration, and whole kernels, and lower broken corn and foreign material and stress cracks relative to the 5YA.
While in the region, Cordero; Kurt Shultz, the director for global strategies for the Council; and Curt Mether, director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association; David Peschong, export merchandizer for Poet Nutrition; and Dr. Carl Reed, a retired professor from Kansas State University, met with key customers in aquaculture and beef feedlot operations to explore the use of U.S. DDGS.
The region imported more than 1.1 million metric tons of DDGS in 2016, with Turkey aggressively taking advantage of U.S. DDGS prices and importing nearly 786,000 metric tons in the first 10 months of 2016. Turkey alone should exceed 1 million metric tons of DDGS imports by the end of 2016, USGC said.
"This region is very diverse and there is tremendous growth occurring, so the Council and its members need to be engaged and meeting with the grain trade," Shultz said. "They are hungry for more contact and trade with U.S. exporters, and we will be accelerating efforts in the region in 2017."
Similar roll-out events for the quality report have been scheduled by all of USGC’s international offices over the next two months targeting established and potential importers. They will be complemented by one-on-one consultations with key customers as well as further outreach surrounding the release of the accompanying Export Cargo Quality Report, due out in the spring.
The full quality report “2016/2017 U.S. Grains Council Corn Harvest Quality Report” is available online here.