Top Crop Manager

Features Bioenergy Ethanol
US farmers provide another bin-buster

Sept. 11, 2009 -According to projections by the USDA, not only will the US likely produce a record corn crop, their average yield has increased from 115 bu/ac in 1995 to about 162 bu/ac for the coming harvest.

September 11, 2009  By Renewable Fuels Association

September 11, 2009

Washington –It may sound like a broken record, but American farmers are yet again poised to harvest a near-record corn crop and record soybean crop. Farmers also are likely this fall to establish a new record for the amount of corn produced per acre of land. In projections released today by the US Department of Agriculture, farmers are expected to produce a record 161.9 bushels per acre, a five percent increase over last year’s average yield and 1.5 bushels/acre higher than the previous record set in 2004. USDA expects total corn production to reach 13 billion bushels, a seven percent increase over last year and the second-largest crop on record. USDA is also expecting record soybean production of 3.25 billion bushels.

The Renewable Fuels Association pointed out that just 15 years ago, 35 million more acres of corn would have been needed to produce the equivalent of this year’s crop (see chart). Because of advancements in farming and seed technology, farmers can produce far more per acre, reducing the need for total crop acreage. Such facts run counter to the hysterical claims that increased US biofuel production is leading to increased conversion of non-agricultural land in the United States and abroad. The facts simply don’t support this hypothesis.


"It is time we put to bed the flawed notion that increased biofuel production results in vastly expanded cropland," said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. "With record yields on fewer acres, American farmers have demonstrated beyond refute they are more than capable of providing the raw materials for ample food, feed and fuel. Such abundance and productivity would be catastrophic to farmers if new sources of demand did not exist. The role of ethanol in providing a value-added opportunity for farmers has been vital, and exists without requiring new cropland."

Dinneen continued, "Yield growth alone will provide the additional feedstock required by the ethanol industry in 2009/10. In other words, not a single additional acre of corn is needed over last year’s levels to meet the industry’s additive feedstock demand. This demonstrates that increased demand for corn resulting from ethanol expansion can be met solely through yield gains." As a result of expanding production, the ethanol industry will demand an additional 525 million bushels this year. Yield growth alone will provide an additional 630 million bushels.

Based on USDA projections of corn for ethanol use in the 2009/2010 crop year (Sept. 2009-Aug. 2010), the US ethanol industry will produce 11.8 billion gallons of ethanol and 32 million metric tons of livestock feed.


Stories continue below