Cornhusker Economics: Thinking About the Corn Market
It was 20 years ago, in the late 1990s, that the United States was the dominant corn producer and exporter in the world, producing about 240 million metric tons (40% of the world total) and exporting close to 50 million metric tons (65% of the world total). Brazil, on the other hand, was a minor player in the corn market, producing approximately 25 million metric tons (4% of the world total) and barely exporting anything.
Many changes have happened and we have a different corn market today. For the 2018-2019 crop year, USDA projections show the United States producing 356 million metric tons (35% of the world total) and exporting 53 million metric tons (33% of the world total), and Brazil producing 96 million metric tons (9% of the world total) and exporting 31 million metric tons (20% of the world total). The United States is still the largest producer and exporter in the world, but its position is not as dominant as it was two decades ago. Brazil has quickly emerged as the second largest exporter and third largest producer in the world. (Ukraine has also become an important player in the corn market, but this is a story for another time.)