Continuing high levels of domestic corn-based ethanol production and gains in exports will keep corn demand high. Following a projected near-term expansion of corn plantings to 94 million acres in 2012, strong producer returns will keep corn acreage in a range of 89 million to 92 million acres over the projection period. Planted area for other feed grains remains steady.

U.S. corn exports are expected to rise in response to stronger global demand for feed grains to support growth in meat production. Export gains are particularly strong to China, which accounts for almost half the overall growth in global corn imports. The United States remains the world’s largest corn exporter, but the U.S. share of global corn trade is lower than was once typical, averaging less than 50 percent over the projection period. The decline in share is due in part to larger use of corn for ethanol production in the United States.

After declining from their current high levels, corn prices are projected to increase beyond 2013-14 due to growth in feed use, exports, and demand for corn by ethanol producers.