Corn Market Outlook

Corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the U.S., with much of the crop providing the main energy ingredient in livestock feed. Corn is also processed into a wide range of food and industrial products including cereal, alcohol, sweeteners, and byproduct feeds.

Corn is by far the largest component of global coarse-grain trade, accounting for about three-quarters of total volume in recent years. (Coarse grains make up a common trade category that includes corn, sorghum, barley, oats, and rye.) Most of the corn that is traded is used for feed; smaller amounts are traded for industrial and food uses.

Corn is America’s No. 1 field crop, with an annual production of 14 billion bushels. Americans consume one-third of all corn produced in the world. $267 is spent by the average American annually on corn. Consumption of corn sweetener in the U.S. increased 387 percent between 1970 and 2005, to 77.4 lbs from 15.9 lbs. High fructose corn syrup costs $0.20 per pound, while cane sugar costs $0.33 per pound.

The U.S. is one of the worldwide corn leaders with 96,000,000 acres (39,000,000 ha) of land reserved for corn production. This would cover the entire country of Germany. Corn growth is dominated by west/north central Iowa and east central Illinois, collectively known as the U.S. Corn Belt.

The U.S. is ranked first in the world in corn production, and the world’s largest producer and exporter of corn. The U.S. accounts for about 40 percent of world exports. Corn grain exports represent a significant source of demand for U.S. producers and make a significant net contribution to the U.S. agricultural trade balance for agricultural commodities, indicating the importance of corn exports to the U.S. economy.

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), in 2014 over 83 million acres of corn were harvested in the U.S., with an average yield of 174.2 bushels per acre, for a total corn harvest production of almost 14.5 billion bushels. These corn production numbers were the highest ever reported in the U.S., largely due to favorable weather patterns.

U.S. corn exports account for 13 percent of its total production. In 2014, total U.S. corn exports reached 1.8 billion bushels. Japan is the largest export market for U.S. corn, with a 25% market-share, followed by Mexico with 21% and South Korea with 9% of market-shares.

11 percent of production was exported to more than 100 different countries. Among them, Japan (24 percent), Mexico (22 percent) and Korea (10 percent) comprise the bulk of U.S. corn destinations. The United States was the leading exporter of corn in the 2013/2014 marketing year accounting for 39 percent of world corn exports. Brazil (17 percent), Ukraine (15 percent) and Argentina (10 percent) followed the United States as top exporters

According to the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) 2015 U.S. corn production projected 13.654 billion bushels (bb), with exports of 1.8 billion bushels. The 2015/16 season-average corn price received by producers is projected 15 cents lower on both ends this month to $3.35 to $3.95 per bushel. The USDA’s projected 2015 U.S. corn planted acres to be 88.381 million acres (ma). The USDA projected that 2015 U.S. corn harvested acreage would be 80,664,000 acres. The USDA forecast 2015 U.S. average corn yields to be 169.3 bushels per acre (bu/ac).

The 2015/16 season-average corn price received by producers is projected 15 cents lower on both ends this month to $3.35 to $3.95 per bushel. The U.S. is projected to be the largest producer of corn, followed by China, Brazil, the European Union, Southeast Asia, Argentina, Mexico, Ukraine, the Former Soviet Union 12 Countries (less Ukraine), South Africa, Canada, and Egypt.

The U.S. is the projected leader in World corn exports, followed by Brazil, Ukraine, Argentina, the Former Soviet Union 12 Countries (less Ukraine), the European Union, South Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Canada, and China.

The United States grew nearly 13.8 billion bushels (351.3 million metric tons) of corn and roughly 11 percent of production was exported to more than 100 different countries. Among them, Japan (24 percent), Mexico (22 percent) and Korea (10 percent) comprise the bulk of U.S. corn destinations.

The European Union is projected to be the largest World corn importer, followed by Japan, Southeast Asia, Mexico, South Korea, Egypt, China, Canada, the U.S., Brazil, the Former Soviet Union Region-12 Countries less Ukraine, Ukraine, South Africa and Argentina.

U.S. export prospects may be bolstered a bit by ongoing dry weather in South Africa. The larger concern for U.S. export prospects stems from the continuation of the relatively strong U.S. currency and expectations that Argentine exports may accelerate as a result of the elimination of export taxes. Reports indicate that the current export tax of 20 percent is to be eliminated beginning on December 10.