WASHINGTON — Corn supplies will remain tight in the United States, the world's largest grower and exporter, even after an increase in planting boosts production to a record, the Department of Agriculture's chief economist said Thursday. Soybean and cotton production will also rise.
Farmers will harvest a record 13.73 billion bushels of corn, up from 12.447 billion last year, with 5 billion bushels devoted to ethanol, compared with 4.95 billion for the 2010 crop, Joe Glauber said at a USDA forum near Washington. Increased demand will limit the gain in inventories, with supplies on Aug. 31, 2012, rising to 865 million bushels from 675 billion expected at the end of the current crop year, Glauber said.
"Despite an increase in acres, the corn market is going to remain tight," he said. "It points to the fierce competition for acreage this spring."
Tighter supplies helped boost global food costs by 25 percent last year, reaching the highest ever last month, according to the United Nations. Rising demand also is helping to boost net-farm income in the U.S. by 20 percent this year to a record $94.7 billion, the USDA said earlier this month. U.S. farm exports will jump 25 percent to a record $135.5 billion in fiscal 2011, Glauber said Thursday.
Overseas purchases of agricultural products from the U.S., the largest exporter of wheat and cotton, probably will jump $26.8 billion in fiscal 2011 from the year that ended on Sept. 30, Glauber said.