What's the next corn market mover? I am not sure, there are a lot of possibilities to choose from, but the market will stay volatile, and one or more of them will not match today's expectations.

For example, European debt crisis, South American weather, 2012 corn planted acreage, El Niño, La Niña, oil prices, etc…. And given the tight U.S. and world corn supplies, it does not take much change in expectations, or change from expectations to reality/final numbers, to have justified large price changes.

On Jan. 12, 2012 the USDA released the 2011 Annual Crop Report, the Dec. 1, 2011 Quarterly Stocks Report, and updated Supply/Demand Reports.

And the market took the reports overall as quite negative, March corn futures dropped the limit 40 cents the day of the report, and 12 cents the next day. It was not so much that the updated numbers were different from prior USDA estimates, as that they were different than the market expectations.

U.S. 2011 corn production was 12,358 million bushels, 48 million more bushels than the November projection. Acres harvested were increased 100,000 acres, and the yield was increased one half bushel per acre to 147.2 bushels per acre.

In some ways the final corn production number was really close to the November USDA projection, but it was 93 million bushels more than the trade "expected".

The bigger market negative was the Dec. 1 stocks report showing stocks on hand Dec. 1 being 251 million bushels higher than the trade expected. Of course 93 million bushels of that was due to the trade expecting a smaller crop, but even the remaining 158 million bushel difference is large.

The problem for me was that the stocks report indicated feed use/disappearance in the first quarter of the 2011-12 corn marketing year was down significantly from 2010, this does not match up with livestock numbers and slaughter weights this past fall relative to the previous fall. However, there were no changes in the USDA annual feed use projection for all of 2011-12.