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Corn Acres Trends

Published on: 08:52AM Jun 11, 2014

In reviewing the 2012 AG census data for corn acres, it is very interesting some of the trends that jump out at us. In 1997, the US grew corn on about 71 million acres. By 2002 the acres had dropped to 68 million acres, but beginning thereafter with ethanol, acres jumped to 86 million in 2007 and for 2012, corn acres were at 87.4 million (we know that 2013 and 2014 number may be a little higher).

The top 10 states in corn production were (in million acres):

  • Iowa - 13.7
  • Illinois - 12.3
  • Nebraska - 9.1
  • Minnesota - 8.3
  • Indiana - 6.0
  • South Dakota - 5.3
  • Kansas - 3.9
  • Ohio - 3.6
  • North Dakota - 3.5
  • Wisconsin - 3.3
  • Missouri - 3.3 (tie)

There are 15 states with more than 1 million acres allocated to growing corn and 49 states grow it. The only state that does not grow any corn is Alaska while the state with the lowest number of acres is also our smallest state - Rhode Island.

Now for the trends. North Dakota is number 9 on the list of largest acres, however, in 1997, North Dakota grew corn on only 592 thousand acres. It grew to 991 thousand in 2002, 2.4 million in 2007 and finally 3.5 million for 2012. This represents an increase of 485% in 15 years. Other states with more than a 1 million acre increase during this same period are (1) South Dakota (2.0 million acres), (2) Minnesota (1.9 million acres), (3) Iowa (1.8 million acres), (4) Illinois (1.5 million acres) and (5) Kansas (1.5 million acres).

The outer fringes of the old corn belt (ND, SD, MN and KS) increased corn acres by about 8.4 million acres over 15 years. At an average production of even 125 bushels per acre this represents over 1 billion additional corn bushels.

It will be interesting to see what the trend in corn acres will be in the 2017 AG census. Until then, we will keep you posted.

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