What is in this article?:
- Corn supply seems adequate for fuel, feed, food and exports
- Corn produced much more efficiently
• Higher corn prices get blamed for higher overall food prices, but in this real example, the actual dollar value received by the farmer has relatively low impact on the overall cost of food at the grocery store.
There has recently been a lot of discussion about corn for food versus corn for fuel.
Here are some numbers on corn in the United States that are often lost in this discussion
Based on 2011 estimates, corn for direct food consumption was about 5 to 10 percent of total U.S. production. Fuel ethanol was 38 percent, feed and residual was 38 percent, and exports were 14 percent. (Source: USDA-ERS Yearbook).
Some of the categories than can be counted in corn for food include: 1 percent for cereals and other products (corn flakes and tortilla chips); 4 percent for corn sugar (high fructose corn syrup), 2 percent for starch, 2 percent for glucose and dextrose and 1 percent for alcohol (bourbon, whiskey, vodka).
Some of the starch, glucose and dextrose are used for industrial purposes (absorbent material in baby diapers) so not all of those should be counted in the food category.
Specific hybrids of corn are grown for the cereals and other products market.
Corn was harvested on 84 million U.S. acres in the 2011 marketing year and is expected to be harvested on about 87 million acres this year. These numbers are up over the last 10 years, but still down from our overall highs around 1909 to 1918 when corn for grain was harvested on over 100 million U.S. acres.
Corn is also grown as a forage crop and some acres are destroyed by bad weather events. Those acres are not included in the harvested grain acres above.
Corn farmers in Kentucky often grow soybeans and wheat in their rotations. Soybeans were harvested on 73.8 million U.S. acres in 2011 and 76.1 million acres last year. Wheat was harvested on 45.7 million acres in 2011 with about 10 million more planted in the U.S. (some of which is used as a forage or a cover crop, some of which is destroyed by bad weather events). Source: USDA-ERS Yearbook