Encouraging signs regarding the supply of feed grains on the world market over the next 12 months have been reported to the 2012 annual conference of the International Grains Council by Dr. Joseph Glauber, chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A further increase in the global corn harvest is expected for 2012 after the record crop of 2011, according to Glauber. (Watch video of Glauber reporting on the global animal feed grains market.) Current indications are that the 2012 crop will be higher by almost 9 percent, boosted by a near-20 percent rise in the quantity harvested in the U.S.
Although an update will be issued at the end of June, it seems currently that U.S. growers have planted about 96.37 million acres of corn, the largest area since 1937. Record corn yields are also being projected. USDA analysts estimate that the increase of over 4 percent in planted area will combine with rises of 6 percent for harvested area and almost 13 percent for yield to give a production of 14.8 billion bushels of corn in the 2012–2013 harvest year compared with 12.4 billion bushels in 2011–2012.
According to Glauber, the other key driver to a re-building of grain stocks is likely to be that U.S.-based ethanol plants will use no more corn in 2012–2013 than in the year before. It would mark the third consecutive year of flat demand from biofuel producers, whose ethanol production capacity has stayed the same since 2008 after previously showing sharp annual increases.
Their market potential has dropped following the big increase in energy prices seen in 2007–2008. Back in 2007 the car-fuel consumption on the American market of 2013 was projected at 150 billion U.S. gallons. With people reacting to higher prices by driving less and by choosing more energy-efficient cars, however, the 2013 volume has been cut to below 135 billion gallons.