More Corn Stocks Positive for Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

More corn stocks than expected showed up in the latest report out from USDA on Friday, which was a pleasant surprise for the ethanol industry.

Despite the fact that corn stocks are reported to be 34% lower than a year ago, it was expected to be much worse, even just a few weeks prior to the Friday Grain Stocks report. Earlier this year, USDA was predicting corn stocks would finish the year at just 675 million bushels, less than a three-week supply. But as of September 1, stocks instead totaled 1.13 billion bushels, with disappearance over the summer months indicated at 600 million less bushels than last year.

The immediate effect of the report was lower prices and a little more breathing room for the industries that rely on corn, like ethanol. “Pushing corn stocks back above one billion bushels is important for the psyche of the market,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice President Geoff Cooper. “Having more corn available should somewhat ease supply concerns brought on by poor growing conditions this year and provide more of a buffer until farmers complete the harvest of this year’s crop.”

With corn prices higher this summer, livestock producers may have been using more distillers grains (DDGS), the by-product of ethanol production. When the amount of corn used for ethanol feed co-products is combined with feed and residual demand, total feed demand becomes 6.35 billion bushels, or 47 percent of expected use in 2011/12.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, USDA