Corn planting is running well above normal across the country, fueling speculation that this year’s crop could be huge.
The crop progress report this week shows that seven percent of the nation’s corn crop is now planted – more than double normal for this time of year. Progress in some Midwestern states has already hit double digits. Missouri has 23% of the crop planted compared to the five-year average of 8% and Illinois is at 17% where just 3% is normal. Huge gains were seen from the previous week in states like Tennessee, which jumped from 15 to 46% planted in a week, while Kentucky went from 5 to 32%. Normally, only 10 of the 18 top corn states have corn in the ground by this time of year but right now only North Dakota and Wisconsin have nothing to report.
Doing the math on the USDA Prospective Planting report predicting almost 96 million acres of corn this year and using only the five year average corn yield of 154.3 bushels per acre, there is the potential for a 14.8 billion bushel crop.
“Certainly if we have a trend yield, we’ll see record production and we should see substantial rebuilding of stocks,” said USDA chief economist Joe Glauber. “We were calculating with even 94 million acres we would see almost a doubling of stock yields.” That, he says, should moderate corn prices considerably which would provide some relief for both livestock and ethanol producers. The newest World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimate projects season-average corn prices at $6.00 to $6.40 per bushel.
The report also notes that corn to produce ethanol in 2011/12 is unchanged again this month at 5 billion bushels, while the latest monthly data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates that average daily ethanol disappearance fell to a 23-month low in January pushing ethanol stocks to a new record high. Weekly EIA ethanol production data suggest average daily ethanol production during February and March has continued to fall hitting its lowest level since early last fall.