Last week USDA forecast corn production at 10.9 billion bushels, down 209 million bushels from last year. According to Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, the rise of the ethanol industry led USDA to lower the corn carryover estimates from about 2 billion bushels last year to 996 million this year.
"Ethanol production has consumed an additional 550 million bushels in the last year, so that accounts for about half of the decrease in carryover," Hutchens told the Grand Island Independent newspaper.
Not only is ethanol making a big dent in corn carryover this year, Hutchens says, but ethanol production is only going up. "There are dozens of ethanol plants under construction across the
Forty-four biorefineries are under construction across the nation, adding to the 101 already capable of producing more than 4.8 billion gallons each year.
Hutchens also says that strong export demand has been a factor, adding that corn exports have increased by 100 million bushels since September projections.