There is plenty of corn in the latest reports out from USDA this week.
In the first official estimate of the 2010/11 crop, USDA is projecting corn production to beat last year by 260 million bushels and total 13.4 billion. “Based on the rapid pace of 2010 planting as reported in Crop Progress, the 2010/11 yield is projected at 163.5 bushels per acre, 2.7 bushels above the 1990-09 trend. Corn supplies are projected at a record 15.1 billion bushels, 325 million higher than in 2009/10.”
That’s a lot of corn – but it could be even more than that. Corn planting is more than 80 percent complete as of Sunday and while that is not a record for this time of year, it looks pretty great compared to the last two years. Planting has been moving along at a record pace for the past 2-3 weeks and is nearly complete already in Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Considering last year’s late planting season, cool and wet growing season and terrible harvest conditions still resulted in a record average corn yield of 164.7 bushels per acre, chances are pretty good that better weather and growing conditions will result in better yields compared to last year.
Where is all that corn going to go? Total U.S. corn use for the coming year is expected to be two percent higher than the current year, with higher expected food, seed, and industrial use, but lower projected feed and residual use. Exports are projected to be up three percent, while corn use for ethanol is projected at 4.6 billion bushels, up 200 million from last year. If the estimates are right, the increase in corn production expected for this year will more than offset the increase in use for ethanol expected. Interesting. We have to wonder what we would be doing with all this corn if it were not for ethanol use.