National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott a North Dakota corn grower says 2011 was a year that tested the resilience of the American farmer and today's corn varieties. He notes rain and flooding delayed planting in the Corn Belt this spring; acres were lost to floods and blown levies along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers; scorching heat and drought impacted the crop in the South; the Corn Belt endured abnormally high temperatures in July and August; and Hurricane Irene just recently devastated the Atlantic Seaboard.
Schott says taking all of those things into account helps keep the latest crop production numbers from USDA, where the corn crop was cut 3% from August to 12.5 billion bushels, in perspective.
"You know a person has to remember the acres are at 92.3 million and the yield at 148, it's still going to help produce the third largest corn crop on record," Schott said. "About ten years ago we had a 138 bushels per acre and production of 9.5 billion bushels. We're still producing a lot of corn even though we had this miserable spring and hot summer."
With projected production and estimated world corn ending stocks up 2.9 million tons from August, Schott says NCGA believes there is enough corn for food, feed, fiber and fuel here at home and abroad. He adds that corn supply concerns are only part of the reason for higher corn prices and high commodity futures overall.
"Remember one thing about the market place is that we've got some impact from outside people that are driving our commodity prices as well," Schott said. "They're using this as an investment vehicle to push these prices higher too."
In the end, whatever happens to the 2011 crop, Schott says this year has shown the need for sound farm policy. Specifically really good crop insurance and risk management tools in the next Farm Bill.