The final 2008 corn crop estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture released today confirmed that American farmers produced the second-largest crop on record with the second highest average yield per acre in history – despite adverse weather across the Corn Belt during the early part of the growing season and a late fall harvest.
Corn for grain production in 2008 is now estimated to be 12.1 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the November forecast but 7 percent below last year’s record high. The average U.S. grain yield is estimated at 153.9 bushels per acre, up 0.1 bushel from the November forecast and 3.2 bushels above 2007. The 2008 yield is the second highest on record, behind 2004, and production is second largest, behind last year.
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen says the final numbers should dispel the misconception that ethanol is at the root of higher corn and food prices, especially given an expected surplus of nearly two billion bushels at the end of this marketing year. “This report also demonstrates the real size of the demand for corn by ethanol production,” said Dinneen. “At approximately 21 percent of the net total corn use, ethanol demand for corn is providing a much-needed value added market for farmers without having the market-distorting impacts many in the food processing and livestock production industries have claimed.”
USDA’s updated world corn supply and demand estimates this month show slightly reduced demand for corn use for ethanol, in addition to reductions in all corn demand. As a result USDA raised its projection of corn carry-out for the end of the 2008/09 marketing year to 1.8 billion bushels, one of the highest levels in the past decade.