USDA increases forecast for corn use in ethanol

By Erin Voegele | January 12, 2022

The USDA increased its forecast for 2021-’22 corn use in ethanol in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released Jan. 12. The 2021-’22 corn outlook is for higher production, lower exports, and larger ending stocks.

Corn production is estimated at 15.115 billion bushels, up 53 million on a 300,000 acre increase in harvested area. Total corn use is virtually unchanged at 14.835 billion bushels. Exports are lowered 75 million bushels to 2.425 billion, reflecting expectations of increased competition from other exporters. Food, seed and industrial (FSI) use raised 80 million bushels.

Corn used for ethanol is raised 75 million bushels to 5.325 billion, based on data through November from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report and weekly ethanol production data as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for the month of December. An estimated 5.028 million bushels of corn went to ethanol production in 2020-’21, up from 4.857 million bushels in 2019-’20.

Corn ending stocks are raised 47 million bushels. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $5.45 per bushel.

Foreign corn production is forecast lower with declines for Brazil, Argentina, Kenya Mexico, the EU and Paraguay that are partially offset by an increase for Ukraine. For Argentina, dryness during December reduces yield prospects for early-planted corn in key central growing areas, although with an increase in late-planted corn area for much of the crop the critical phase of the growing season lies in the months ahead. Brazil is lowered reflecting reduced yield expectations for first-crop corn in southern Brazil.

According to the USDA, corn exports are increased for Ukraine, Pakistan and Tanzania with a reduction for Paraguay. For 2021-’21, Argentina and Brazil’s exports for the marketing year beginning in March 2021 are raised based on observed shipments to date. For 2021-’22, corn imports are raised for Kenya, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico, but lowered for Bangladesh. Foreign corn ending stocks are lower, mostly reflecting reductions for Brazil, Argentina and Pakistan. Global corn stocks, at 303.1 million tons, are down 2.5 million.