So far this year, weather has had a significant impact on the U.S. corn crop. The late planting of corn caused the USDA to reduce in its World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates the expected planted acres by 1.5 million, to 90.7 million acres total. Despite this, USDA is still expecting a record crop of 13.2 billion bushels.
According to Bart Schott, President of the National Corn Growers Association, and a corn grower from North Dakota, we won't have any idea of what the yield is going to be until we get through the July and August weather.
"Let's watch the weather the next 60 days," Schott said. "I really think that the way most of this corn crop got put in timely with the right effort, I think we're going to see a bigger yield than what USDA is giving us right now."
Schott says U.S. corn growers will have to put in a little extra work this year but as it stands it could be a record crop with a little bit of tweaking on the production side of it. Schott says producers should do everything to keep the crop in good condition like getting spraying done in a timely fashion and doing some top dressing.
As for corn's role in high food prices, Schott says the story is the same as it was two years ago when prices peaked.
"The big increase in food prices back then was not because of the commodity prices going up, it was oil going up," Shott said. "It takes a lot of transportation to get this crop to the grocery store so when you are looking at $4 diesel and $4 gas, we think the biggest part of the increase in our food price is due to oil."
Schott says our export partners should not worry. We have corn on hand….tape
"When you look at it our corn crop gets split up into three segments; number one is the livestock industry, the next one is ethanol and then the third one is exports," Schott said. "I think it's not going to have a lot of effect on that. We've got high prices now and we look at globally we have a pretty good supply of feedstocks on hand now so I don't see it really affecting our exports a lot right now."
Meat production consumes a lot of corn. So, NCGA and its affiliated state organizations have pledged to re-double efforts to help expand international demand for meat. NCGA is renewing its call on the Administration and Congress to complete their work on three pending free trade agreements that will expand market opportunities for beef, pork and poultry products.
Also, state corn checkoff organizations will continue their collective million-dollar-plus support of U.S. meat export organizations and their efforts to build additional markets.