AG IS MY BAG: Will there be enough to go around? - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

AG IS MY BAG: Will there be enough to go around?

By STU ELLIS

Earlier this year when theoretical numbers were being assembled to gauge the 2011 corn crop, it was estimated at nearly 13.5 billion bushels to supply the demand that was just below that level. After all a trend line yield of nearly 160 bushels per acre and 84 million acres of corn would be just enough with little to spare.

Then came the incessant rain in the Eastern Corn Belt which prevented timely planting from Illinois through Ohio. Then came the late spring floods along the Ohio River and Mississippi River and the flooded acreage. Then came the early summer floods along the Missouri River and more flooded acreage. Then came the satanic weather pattern that baked the usually abundant Central Illinois crop.

While eyes were focused on the weather, the United States Department of Agriculture adjusted its corn crop projections downward and the August estimate had dropped to just under 13 billion bushels, with little reduction in demand. That is because corn buyers had not reacted yet to the rising prices that would soon ration the demand.

Now the September crop report has taken another 442 million bushels from the supply estimate while the higher prices pare down the demand by 400 million bushels. Ethanol will use less because of fewer driving miles by motorists. High prices will reduce industrial demand. And because the Texas drought is sending so many cattle to market now, there will be fewer on hand later in the year to consume corn, so feed use will decline.

The result is less corn to go around, and anyone wanting some will have to pay a higher price for it. That is the supply and demand theory of the market.

Is this year an anomaly in which we will produce somewhere just above 12 billion bushels of corn? Or was 2009 an anomaly in which we produced just over 13 billion bushels of corn? In all likelihood it is the former, because increasing yields in corn production have been the trend. But at the same time the increasing demand for corn has been rising faster than the supply.

Every family has felt that pinch in which expenses rise faster than the income to cover them, and that is the way it currently is with corn. Demand is good. It is much better than the supply-management government policies of prior generations. But we cannot afford to have years of short supply such as now, when there will only be 18 days worth of corn left when the marketing year ends a year from now.

Actually we may not even have that much. USDA's supply demand balance sheet says there will be 672 million bushels of corn left next Aug. 31, but because that is the minimum amount to keep the corn pipeline flowing in this country, USDA cannot reduce that carry over any further, whether the corn exists or not.

Somewhere around the world last Thursday, a child was born who raised the Earth's population to 7 billion. That child will not tip the balance, but will be an exclamation point that our productive capacity for food has to increase. That is going to require funds for research to increase yields, research to produce corn with less water, and produce food without some of the regulatory controls that restrict production because it generates dust when crops are planted and harvested.

In the coming year our focus on those priorities will be underscored by the dwindling supply, and the need to produce an even larger crop in 2012, to meet the increasing demand.

  • Local HeadlinesLocal HeadlinesMore>>

  • Officer injured as three men attempt failed escape from Adams County Jail

    Officer injured as three men attempt failed escape from Adams County Jail

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:05 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:05:22 GMT
    An Adams County Jail corrections officer was injured Sunday in what jail officials are calling an attempted escape from the facility inside the Adams County Courthouse in downtown Quincy. Adams County Sheriff Brent...
    An Adams County Jail corrections officer was injured Sunday in what jail officials are calling an attempted escape from the facility inside the Adams County Courthouse in downtown Quincy. Adams County Sheriff Brent...
  • Two men escape truck fire on I-72 near Barry

    Two men escape truck fire on I-72 near Barry

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:07:18 GMT
    A truck owned by Micro-Surfacing, based in East Peoria, caught on fire while traveling on I-72 at Exit Ramp 20 near Barry on Wednesday morning. Herald-Whig Photographer Michael Kipley was on the scene and talked to the driver, Dan Hulva, who said the truck "just caught on fire on the highway."
    A truck owned by Micro-Surfacing, based in East Peoria, caught on fire while traveling on I-72 at Exit Ramp 20 near Barry on Wednesday morning. Herald-Whig Photographer Michael Kipley was on the scene and talked to the driver, Dan Hulva, who said the truck "just caught on fire on the highway."
  • C-SC fundraising campaign tops goal by $3 million

    C-SC fundraising campaign tops goal by $3 million

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:11 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:11:32 GMT
    CANTON, Mo. -- Culver-Stockton College has concluded its three-year fundraising campaign last month by raising $3 million more than the original goal and setting two records in the process. The campaign, "A Vision for...
    CANTON, Mo. -- Culver-Stockton College has concluded its three-year fundraising campaign last month by raising $3 million more than the original goal and setting two records in the process. The campaign, "A Vision for...
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Quincy Herald-Whig. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.