SD holds steady to harvest record corn crop

The state’s corn crop held strong over the past month according to the USDA’s monthly review of domestic crop production and supply and demand, released today. South Dakota’s corn crop is projected at 135 bushels per acre, for a record 567 million bushels statewide. 


The numbers for South Dakota were relatively unchanged from USDA’s August assessment, due to favorable moisture and growing conditions throughout the state. Nationwide, USDA reported slightly lower production estimates for the 2008 corn crop from 12.288 billion to 12.072 billion bushels, decreasing the average national yield from 155 to 152.3 bushels per acre. Both numbers continue to represent the second-highest on record and are higher than the average of the five previous crop years.


The forecasted yield in South Dakota is up 14 bushels from 2007’s yields and the harvest is expected to exceed last year’s corn harvest by 4 percent. Acres to be harvested for grain, at 4.2 million, are down 7 percent from last year’s 4.5 million acres harvested.


“It’s always encouraging just ahead of harvest to receive projections of a bumper crop,” said Reid Jensen, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council. “With several weeks to go before the grain is harvested, we continue to be dependent upon Mother Nature for the final kernel count but with the forecasted yield we are optimistic. As the highest users of biotechnology in the nation, South Dakota producers were able to achieve record yields on fewer acres of corn this year, and we will continue to make advancements through seed traits and technology.”


The projected bushels will provide ample supply to meet feed and fuel demand for South Dakota’s ethanol and livestock industries. The state’s 16 ethanol plants are set to consume 307 bushels of corn this year to produce 1 billion gallons of ethanol. Livestock feeding in the state will utilize 81 million bushels of corn and 410 thousand metric tons of DDGs. 


A unique situation has developed in the state over the past 4 years as the ethanol industry has developed in South Dakota. Exports of corn have exponentially decreased each year, causing a positive scenario for corn producers and the industries they supply. On average over the past 4 years, net exports have been about 150 million bushels; it used to be 275 million bushels, according to the ProExporter Network. So the amount of corn going to foreign export has gone down by 125 million bushels, yet corn production has increased at least by that amount. 


What’s more, the lower the net exports, the higher the farm price is in relation to the U.S. farm price. The smaller the net exports, the smaller the price differential, which is a positive for South Dakota producers.


“This is exactly what we’ve been working for. South Dakota has created its very own export markets within its own borders through our thriving ethanol and livestock industries,” said Jensen. “South Dakota producers understand these customers depend on our ability to increase our output and utilize the technology available to us to supply the demand that is within our own state. We want to use it all up here and the advantage our livestock producers have with proximity to their feed source gives them a competitive edge in the nation.” South Dakota Corn Supply Demand 

Corn Uses                            Bushels                    % of 2008 Supply 

Feed/Residual                       132 mil bu                     23%
Residual use                         51 mil bu                       9%
Feed Use in State                  81 mil bu                       14%
Ethanol/Coproducts               307 mil bu                      54% 
Total Use in State                571 mil bu                        1.01% 

Source: ProExporter Network


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