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Missouri's corn stocks at lowest level in 15 years

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SIKESTON -- Missouri's corn supply is at its lowest level in 15 years, but there's no need for alarm, agriculture officials say.

Inventory of "old-crop corn," or last year's crop, in Missouri at the beginning of September totaled 17.2 million bushels -- down 67 percent from the level the prior year, the Missouri field office for USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Services reported on Sept. 30. On-farm stocks accounted for 5.7 million bushels, while off-farm bushels accounted for 11.5 million, declines of 75 and 60 percent respectively.

Nationwide old-crop corn stocks in all positions on Sept. 1 totaled 1.13 billion bushels, down 34 percent from a year ago. Of the total stocks, 315 million bushels are stored on farms, down 35 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 813 million bushels, are down 33 percent from a year ago.

Matthews farmer Mike Geske, who also serves as director for the National Corn Growers Association, said actually, the government has since shown current U.S. corn stocks are higher than previously thought.

"They found an additional 200 million bushel of corn stocks so our stocks have actually been growing here in late summer," Geske said.

Geske said the lower corn stocks are due to a combination of reasons: a growing demand in ethanol and adverse weather, which cut the size of this year's crop.

"Yes, there is a growing demand in a crop that has suffered a lot of stress throughout the year," Geske said. "In every aspect, the demand has been strong, and we're also exporting to Brazil."

China has been a buyer this year whereas they haven't been before, Geske said.

Geske noted there is a hay shortage because of the dry weather which has made more of a demand on corn, too.

If Southeast Missouri would have had a normal growing season, farmers would be looking at a very excess crop, which is historically the norm, Geske said.

This year and last year Southeast Missouri had very similar growing seasons for the corn crop, Geske said.

"(In Southeast Missouri), we had excess water in the spring and it was dry in the summer," Geske said.

However, nationally, this year's corn crop is the third largest on record, Geske pointed out.

"We have a tremendous production capacity for the corn crop now," Geske said.

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