Farmers might still harvest the largest U.S. soybean crop ever, even if a rainy spring kept them from planting as much of the oilseed as they had intended. Meanwhile, growers planted slightly more corn than expected, despite high prices and tight supplies for fertilizer and pesticides, reported the Agriculture Department on Thursday.
As part of an effort to "re-set and strengthen" the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the EPA set the corn ethanol mandate at its highest level ever, 15.25 billion gallons, for this year. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline at present, so biofuel backers said consumers would benefit at the fuel pump with more ethanol in the gasoline supply.
The planting season has been delayed by cold weather in four of the five top corn states, a stark contrast to last year's early start, said the Agriculture Department on Monday. The planting window for top yields "is relatively wide," said a University of Illinois economist but this year's slow start has driven up futures prices.
The USDA is not considering suggestions that it open the land-idling Conservation Reserve for cropping this year to stabilize grain supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said press secretary Kate Waters on Thursday.
If the Biden administration wants to boost U.S. grain production in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it should open the 22 million-acre Conservation Reserve for crop production this year, said a University of Illinois economist on Wednesday. Grain prices have soared on the possibility of Ukraine and Russia, major exporters of wheat and corn, being knocked out of the world market for months.
U.S. farmers will pare corn plantings by 1.5 percent and modestly increase soybean acreage this spring in the face of high input costs, projected the USDA on Thursday. High yields would bring the largest corn and soybean crops ever in America and pull down season-average prices for the two most widely planted U.S. crops.
With automakers shifting toward the production of electric cars and trucks, the ethanol industry said on Wednesday that biofuels will be an important tool against global warming, and arguably create less pollution than battery-powered vehicles. The comparison was based on life-cycle costs for the power sources, starting at power stations for electricity and corn fields for ethanol.
Verbio North America says it will more than double the capacity of its plant in central Iowa to produce renewable natural gas from corn stover, and it plans to begin production of corn ethanol in the final months of the year. The facility was the first of three plants in the nation to return to biofuel production after faltering as a producer of cellulosic ethanol, made from grasses, woody plants and crop residue.
Renewing a fight that began five years ago, two environmental groups have sued the EPA to force it to regulate pesticide-coated seeds in the name of protecting bees and other pollinators. Seeds coated with neonicotinoid insecticides are used on 80 percent of corn land and 40 percent of soybean land, although researchers question their value against late-emerging crop pests.
The U.S. soybean hit parade, with record production in 2016, 2017, and 2018, will continue this year with the largest crop ever, the government forecast on Tuesday with the harvest in full swing. A late-summer surge in likely yields per acre prompted the USDA to say the crop will be 2 percent larger than its previous estimate.
U.S. farmers will reap two of their largest-ever corn and soybean crops, the first step to assuring an abundant food supply, the government said on Thursday, despite drought damage in the northern Plains and upper Midwest. The wheat crop, meanwhile, will be the smallest in 19 years.
The United States is headed for its largest corn harvest ever and its third-largest soybean crop, based on the USDA's annual Acreage report, issued on Wednesday. The mammoth crops would be ready for harvest late this summer, replenishing U.S. grain inventories that are being drained by robust demand at home and abroad.
Warm and dry weather brought "widespread worsening of drought and dryness" to the upper Midwest in the past week, particularly in Iowa and Wisconsin, said the Drought Monitor.
After buying huge amounts of the 2020 U.S. corn crop, China bought a total of 3.74 million tonnes (147 million bushels) of American corn last week, all of it for delivery after this year's crop is mature, reported the USDA. "New crop" corn was 80 cents to $1 a bushel lower in price at the Chicago futures markets than the 2020 crop.
U.S. farmers will reap two of their largest corn and soybean crops ever and sell them for the highest average prices since the commodity boom ended several years ago, said the government Wednesday in its first projections of the fall harvest. The USDA also said that global soybean king Brazil would increase its share of the world market at the expense of U.S. exports.
Importers are adding to the mountain of U.S. corn already headed to China with the purchase of 1.36 million tonnes of corn for delivery in the marketing year that opens Sept. 1. The purchase, reported by private exporters to USDA, was worth $400 million at current futures prices.
Large swaths of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are abnormally dry and most of Michigan is in moderate drought due to limited spring precipitation, said the weekly Drought Monitor on Thursday. Arid conditions covered 48 percent of the Midwest, the heart of U.S. corn and soybean production.
U.S. farmers will plant less corn and soybean land than expected this year, despite a surge in commodity prices, suggesting that tighter grain supplies will persist into 2022, said the USDA on Wednesday. Although with normal weather and yields, the corn and soybean harvests could be the second largest ever, they will not be quite as large as projected by traders and the government.