As South Dakota corn fields have been cut and only the stalks, stover and cobs remain, you might be wondering just what happens to all of that corn that was harvested? Where exactly will the state’s projected *648 million bushels of corn produced in 2011 end up?
South Dakota has three main markets for its corn: ethanol, exports and livestock.
- Ethanol– Our state is home to 15 ethanol plants who will consume around 366 million bushels (around 56% of the total crop) this year. Those bushels are turned into well over one billion gallons of clean-burning ethanol fuel and around 2.9 million metric tons of distillers grains (DDGs). The ethanol industry employs thousands of hard-working South Dakotans and provides a source of energy security to our country as it displaces our need for foreign oil.
- Exports– South Dakota has a reputation of producing an abundance of high quality corn welcomed by nations around the world. In 2011 South Dakota is expected to export around 192 million bushels of corn (around 30% of the total crop). With the recent passing of the Free Trade Agreements, look for more corn to be exported in future years. Another noteworthy export would be DDGs which have become hot commodity overseas. SD is expected to export around 2.2 million metric tons of DDGs this year alone.
- Livestock– Beef and dairy cattle, bison, hogs, poultry, sheep and other types of livestock are expected to consume around 83 million bushels (around 13%) of South Dakota’s 2011 corn crop. While corn demand for feed may be relatively flat over the past decade, feeding corn is still the best way to add value to livestock. The state’s herds are also expected to consume around 650,000 metric tons of DDG’s this year as ranchers utilize the high-protein, less-expensive ethanol co-product.
South Dakotan’s can be proud to know that their state goes well beyond meeting their own needs, but plays an important role in providing food, feed, clean fuel and fiber to world’s ever-growing population which has recently passed seven billion.