Dr. Chris Hurt shares some economics updates and what producers need to consider on their feed management as 2012 moves forward. Key take away: Swine producers have the financial ability to outbid ethanol producers for corn. This is forcing ethanol plants to shrink in capacity or shut down. Also, foreign trade is becoming a key component for the industry.
China's growth means that many of its raw materials to sustain the growth must come from other parts of the world. To help gauge Chinese demand for materials, many companies and governments rely on estimates from the China National Bureau of Statistics and other sources, like U.S. Government agencies. If, however, the estimates are wrong one way or the other by a larger than expected margin, the commodity markets start to react, and cause some companies to loose business and revenue.
China's National Bureau of Statistics said that farms produced a record corn crop in 2011 of 191.8 million tonnes. But enthusiastic local officials often overstate the size of crops in China to impress central authorities and win bigger subsidies.
Corn production and demand are coming together to increase corn prices. This is great for corn growers but not great for those that depend on corn for animal feed. Adding ethanol into the mix again put corn in the middle of the food versus fuel debate.
Ethanol is consuming corn at a rate that is only 10 percent less than that of livestock and poultry demand. And more than one bushel of corn out of three produced in the US will be converted to ethanol in the current marketing year. That is going to cause concern about the amount of corn we will produce and whether it will be enough to meet demand with minimal rationing. And that causes concern for the traders.
Dr. Robert Wisner, University Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University, states "Corn supplies will be tight and some rationing of demand likely will be needed in the year ahead." This is not a great situation for those in animal agriculture without hedges and other risk mitigation actions in play.