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A look at USDA reports through ethanol lens

April 5, 2010, Washington – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the annual prospective plantings report and the quarterly grain stocks report today. Both contain interesting information pertaining to ethanol, corn supplies and land use.


November 30, 1999
By Matt Hartwig

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April 5, 2010, Washington – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the annual prospective plantings report and the quarterly grain stocks report today. Both contain interesting information pertaining to ethanol, corn supplies and land use.

“The USDA expects 88.8 million acres of corn to be planted and total crop acreage to be virtually unchanged. The USDA also counts current corn stocks at 7.69 billion bushels, up 11 per cent over last year at this time,” said Matt Hartwig, director of public affairs for the Renewable Fuels Association. “However, as the information is not likely to shake the market too much, many of these stats may go unnoticed,” he added. 

Hartwig notes the following points from the reports that the Renewable Fuels Association finds important:

    • Acreage for all major crops hasn’t increased-incremental needs for ethanol are being met through crop switching and not land use change.
    • Corn in storage at this point in the year is at its highest level since 1987, a year in which an all-time record surplus of corn was recorded.
    • The amount of corn currently stored on farms (4.6 billion bushels) is larger than the amount of corn that is expected to be processed into ethanol in 2009/10 (4.2 billion bushels).
    • At 7.7 billion bushels, the total amount of corn in storage (on farms and in off-farm locations) is larger than the total amounts of corn harvested annually as recently as the early 1990s.

“This all demonstrates quite convincingly that corn supplies are more than ample and will easily satisfy all demands with corn to spare,” Hartwig said.