Sep 1, 2014
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Behind the Scenes of the Global Corn Market

This is a web extra in conjunction with "Corn's Global Game" from the March issue of Farm Journal.

In the past eight years, global corn acreage has skyrocketed by more than 77 million additional acres, primarily in North Amer-ica, South America and the former Soviet Union. More corn translates into more export competition for the U.S. Ukraine, for instance, had just 1.6% of global corn exports 10 years ago. Now it tops 16%, overtaking Argentina this year to become the No. 3 corn exporter. What’s happening in Ukraine is not lost on grain companies. In late January, Cargill announced a $200 million investment (a 5% stake) in UkrLandFarming PLC, Ukraine’s largest integrated agricultural company, which controls 1.6 million acres of land. China, too, is investing in Ukraine and has stated its desire to import more corn from the nation.

Beyond the Grain

U.S. corn exports are actually more buoyant than it first appears when factoring in fast-paced, value-added exports to the mix. For instance, dried distillers’ grains exports jumped 87% from 2008 to 2013, the same period when ethanol production ramped up. That means an equivalent of 1.8 billion bushels of corn exports for 2013/14, says Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University ag economist. The export number is higher yet, factoring in corn’s share of the growth in livestock exports.

Top 5 Players in Corn Production

Production and export figures in million bushels


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