In its newest corn supply and demand estimates, USDA reported the estimated average farm price for corn in 2008 at $4 per bushel was lower than the 2007 price. The National Corn Growers Association was quick to point out that proves ethanol demand can be accommodated with little impact on corn and food prices.

“Corn growers in 2008 overcame numerous obstacles to bring in a good crop and meet all needs for corn,” says Bob Dickey, NCGA president and a Nebraska grower. “One of our significant challenges has been dealing with higher costs for land, fuel and fertilizer and trying to break even. The high prices for corn futures was unrelated to ethanol demand and did not always mean more money in growers' pockets.”

USDA estimates corn production at just over 12 billion bushels and yield at 153.8 bushels per acre, with total corn supply at nearly 13.7 billion bushels. These numbers are the same at November’s estimate, but some changes were made to the USDA’s corn demand estimates.

Corn use for ethanol and coproducts such as distillers grains, for example, was reduced from 4 billion to 3.7 billion bushels (27 percent of supply) and ex ports were dropped from 1.9 billion to 1.8 billion bushels. Carry-out is estimated at 1.474 billion bushels, representing 11 percent of supply.

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Source: National Corn Growers Association