An ag economist with Iowa State University Extension predicts there will be plenty of demand for this year’s record corn crop. Earlier this month, the USDA predicted U.S. corn growers will produce 14 billion bushels and ISU Ag economist Chad Hart says the 4.9 billion bushels forecast for ethanol use seems about right. “Things look like they’re stabilizing for the ethanol industry, so I think that 4.9 (billion bushels) number is a pretty good one,” Hart says.
The USDA estimate for corn used for ethanol was raised about 200 million bushels compared to the last report in September. Iowa is expected to lead the nation in corn production with over 2.2 billion bushels. Hart says if there is a bullish argument for corn, it’s in the potential for strong exports.
“We’ve already seen some tremendous response there,” Hart says. “In 2012, the corn market export got cut in half. We’ve seen it rebound and the USDA is putting it at 1.4 billion bushels. I think we could get up around 1.6 (billion) because of the pace we’ve seen thus far. We’ve got some customers out there for our corn.”
Hart says there is one country in particular that has a big demand for U.S. corn: China. “China does not like to buy corn. They like to be self-sufficient, but this year, even with a record corn crop domestically in that country, they’re still importing a lot of corn from us,” Hart says. “In fact, during the government shutdown, they were our biggest buyer of corn.”
The USDA’s final crop report for this season, released Monday, shows 97-percent of Iowa’s corn acreage is harvested. Dry conditions continue to threaten the next growing season. Around 55-percent of Iowa’s crop acreage is rated as short to very short of subsoil moisture as the soil freezes.
(Reporting by Dan Skelton, KICD, Spencer)