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user picture Paul Carter

US farmers know how to grow high corn yields -- Where will demand for this corn come from in the future?

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Recent TopYield/Ag posts on China’s corn buying prompted me to share this 2020 article on “The Changing Distribution of World Corn Production in the 21st Century” by Carl Zulauf with The Ohio State University.


As an agronomist, this chart from the article is especially interesting. Note that the US corn yield average of 174 bu/acre from 2017-2020 is nearly 55 bu/acre above the next highest . Several other countries have been increasing yields at a faster rate since 2000-2004, but are still well behind.  (Clink on graph for larger image.)

  • Will there be demand for this corn in the future?

Zulauf concludes that increasing US focus on international trade will be an important answer to this question.

See article summary and article link below for more, including how the US share of global corn acres and production is changing.


“With the growth in corn used for ethanol slowing in the US, concern has arisen about where demand will come from for the continuing rise in US yields from already high levels.  This analysis suggests a potential answer is exports to most of the rest of the world, not just China.  Realization of this potential depends in part on US field crop agriculture and corn in particular being willing to shift its focus to developing and upgrading its role in international trade.”


  • Corn
  • Crop Marketing

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Interesting article. It looks like there is a global competition on increasing yields as well as total production of corn while there are only very few, if any sources of new demands. Are you aware of any analysis on short and long term overall supply and demand situation  of corn and the impact on prices?

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(The unprecedented expansion of the middle class.) As we look towards the population growth projections for 2050 what is more interesting is not the sheer number but the fact that much of the growth will stem from countries like India for example who are beginning to grow out of being a "developing" nation and moving towards higher incomes. There is a projection that in 2050 88% of the middle class will be from the Asian continent. As we move more people into the middle class, these people will have more budget for food and likely increase their meat consumption. So, I would suspect a lot of the demand for corn will be to feed livestock as we increase the number of consumers with a budget for meat as a protein source.

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@tanveer and Gracie:

Thank you for your questions and good responses. The global increase in the middle class and their expected expanded meat diets certainly seems a possible future demand factor. 

I will also explore to see if I can find any more analyses on the short and long term future demand question. 

Is anyone on the TopYield.Ag network aware of recent information on this from the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association?


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