Corn Stocks are Down, Plantings Expected Higher

Cindy Zimmerman

USDAUSDA expects more five percent more corn to be planted this year according to the Prospective Plantings report released this morning, but stocks are down 15% from last year at this time.

Corn growers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn for all purposes this year, up 5 percent from last year and 7 percent higher than in 2009. If realized, this will be the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007.

In the new Grain Stocks report today, USDA says corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2011 totaled 6.52 billion bushels, down 15 percent from last year. “Of the total stocks, 3.38 billion bushels are stored on farms, down 26 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.14 billion bushels, are down slightly from a year ago. The December 2010 – February 2011 indicated disappearance is 3.53 billion bushels, compared with 3.21 billion bushels during the same period last year.”

“This morning’s acreage estimate clearly shows that American farmers respond to signals from the marketplace,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper this morning. “There is every expectation that farmers will once again produce the corn that is needed to meet all demands.”

According to Cooper, based on this acreage estimate, corn yields would need to average 159.7 bushels per acre to maintain current carry-out levels. “To increase carry-out stocks to near one billion bushels, an average yield of 163.5 bushels per acre would be needed,” he said. “Such a yield is entirely possible and in line with trend yield growth from the last 15 years. In 2009, American farmers set the all-time yield record at 164.7 bushels per acre.”

Cooper will be providing more analysis on what the reports mean for the ethanol industry in a webinar this morning at 10:00 AM Eastern. To get info on how to tune in, please email Taryn Morgan at

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA