USDA’s latest crop production forecast calls for a U.S. corn crop of 11-billion bushels this year. While that’s seven-percent below 2004, it’s still an increase of two-percent from October and is on track to be the second largest corn crop on record – despite many major production states having drought conditions during a critical point in the growing season this year. This month’s outlook for 2005/06 U.S. corn is for increased production, higher domestic consumption, larger stocks, and lower prices. The good news is that more corn is going into ethanol production, according to Gerald Bange, chairman of USDA’s World Outlook Board. “We’re now looking at an ethanol usage number of 1.575 billion bushels, an increase of 75 million bushels over our previous forecast…that would provide for the production of about another 200 million gallons of ethanol.” Bange says the total ethanol production estimate for 2005 is 4.25 billion gallons. Last year, U.S. ethanol production totaled 3.4 billion gallons from 1.22 billion bushels of corn.