USDA’s 2020 Prospective Plantings report released Tuesday estimates planted acres for corn this year at 97.0 million acres, up 8 percent or 7.29 million acres from last year. But when farmers were surveyed a month ago, coronavirus had yet to have the impact it is now having on ethanol demand and prices thanks to a drastic cut in demand for gasoline with millions of Americans staying at home.
Top ethanol producer POET last week stopped buying corn at seven of its 27 plants and Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says there are many more. “There are probably close to three dozen ethanol plants that have completely idled their capacity, we think there’s another two or three dozen facilities that have greatly reduced their output,” said Cooper. “If we get up close to three billion gallons of capacity that is coming off line, we’re talking about a billion bushels of corn.”
Listen to Cooper’s comments here:RFA CEO Geoff Cooper discusses drop in ethanol demand (2:24)