In just its second year, the U.S. Grains Council’s Corn Harvest Quality Report is scoring important points for U.S. producers with appreciative foreign buyers. Released on Dec. 7, the Harvest Report is available online and has already been presented to potential buyers and other interested parties in more than 10 major markets around the world, with more briefings on tap.
“The reaction has been very positive,” said Maryland farmer and Council Corn Sector Director Chip Councell. “In every one of our meetings, the turnout was higher than we had anticipated. Participants were relieved to hear that U.S. corn quality tests very high, despite the drought. U.S. exports will still face price and availability issues this year, but strong marks on quality are important and will help U.S. sales in a challenging marketing year.”
Councell joined the Council’s directors in Japan, Taiwan and Korea to present the U.S. farmer perspective, especially regarding the drought impact and future planting intentions. The Council’s international staff is offering similar briefings around the world. In Southeast Asia, Texas farmer and Council At-Large Director Charles Ring teamed with the Council’s Southeast Asia Regional Director Adel Yusupov on a mission to Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
“Southeast Asia is primarily a DDGS market at this time,” Ring said. “But U.S. corn quality is very important to buyers. The transparency of the U.S. marketing system, our willingness to share information even in a tough year, and good information about the long-term U.S. production capacity also builds a foundation for future market development.”
The 2012 Corn Harvest Quality Report highlighted that this year’s U.S. crop, despite the drought, showed a year-over-year improvement in average test weight, protein levels, and density, as well as lower moisture content and BCFM compared to the 2011 crop. The Harvest Report is designed to provide foreign buyers with an objective overview, based on consistent, transparent testing standards, of the quality of the U.S. crop as it enters international marketing channels. It will be followed in April 2013, by the Council’s Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, which will provide objective information on quality at the point of export.
As the bridge between U.S. producers and global markets, the Council is committed to being a reliable and trusted source of information on U.S. production and marketing. In addition to discussions of quality, foreign buyers in the recent briefings inquired about mycotoxins, long-term U.S. production trends, the competitive situation vis-à-vis competitors, and logistical issues including a possible strike in the Pacific Northwest ports and falling water levels on the Mississippi.
“The United States has a well-earned reputation as the most open and transparent trading partner in the world,” said Council President and CEO Tom Sleight. “That is all the more important in this drought-impacted year. We’re staying in close contact with our buyers to answer their questions and to position U.S. exports for a strong rebound when yields return to normal. The Corn Harvest Quality Report and intensive trade servicing are key USGC strategies in 2013.”