Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yield Increases Will Produce More Corn

Biofuel critics, supported by fringe groups and even big food companies, often complain that increased corn usage will take food out of the system.

They like to share cartoons that show starving African children while farmers tool around in their SUVs.

But all that misses the mark. US corn exports are up. More countries are buying our corn than ever before.

What's more distressing is they make these wild claims in a knowledge vacuum. Maybe because they're holed up somewhere looking for their next cause to sell. Who know.

USDA Corn YieldBut the corn industry has been a leader in productivity. Yields, bushels of corn per acre, have dramatically increased over the years. All this while also reducing inputs like pesticides. And the future is looking even brighter. Yield projections show staggering productivity gains in the years ahead.

Upcoming traits from the major seed companies, both traditional breeding as well as biotechnology, will bring better seeds that manage drought, insect resistance and less dependence upon other inputs like fertilizers.

Monsanto CornMonsanto's goals for sustainable agriculture with better seeds includes a doubling of yields by 2030. That's a change from 150 bushels per acre to 300 bushels per acre.

Pioneer DuPont Corn seeds Pioneer and DuPont have also projected stunning productivity improvements. They recently announced a 40% increase in yield in the next decade.

All of this extra corn, on less land, using less inputs, will help to continue to feed the US and the world. Even when used for some products like ethanol, coproducts will be returned to the feed market. It's food and fuel.

So why don't you hear about this from the critics and the media? Because it doesn't sell the "starving children" story.

Source: Monsanto, Pioneer, USDA

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