With rising corn prices, some groups have raised concerns about U.S. farmers planting enough corn to meet increasing demands for food, feed and fuel. In written testimony to the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, the Nation Corn Growers Association says U.S. farmers will react to higher corn prices by planting enough corn to satisfy demand in 2007.
"U.S. growers have produced the three largest corn crops in history in the past three years," NCGA says. "Simply put, though the market may experience heightened volatility as demand rapidly increases, there is no shortage of corn." The association says U.S. farmers will likely plant 10% more corn acres in the spring.
NCGA points out that the current high prices of corn - USDA is projecting an average of $3.20 per bushel this marketing year - are not unprecedented, as yearly averages have come in over $3.10 per bushel three times in the past 25 years.
The production of distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol production that can be fed to livestock, will increase with ethanol production to help take pressure off of corn for feed, NCGA says.
The group outlines the following reasons for producers to keep up with demand:
- Continued advances in biotechnology and conventional plant breeding that will lead to higher yields.
- Incremental acreage shifts to corn from other crops based on market demand.
- Slow or no growth in demand for corn for livestock feed.
- Increased supply of distillers grains and displacement of corn from feed rations.
- Improvements in ethanol production efficiency and emerging technologies such as corn fiber conversion and the adoption of ethanol-tailored hybrids.