Lindsay Mitchell

Oct 20, 2016  |  Today's News

Illinois farmers already understand the effect that low commodity prices have on their bottom line. With another blockbuster year of corn yields, there will be an excess supply that will continue to drive prices lower as farmers struggle to make a profit. That’s why IL Corn supports the passage of trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trade builds relationships while increasing both demand and commodity prices. Moreover, value-added corn (ethanol, DDGs, and meat products) provides other avenues for economic benefits that can positive impact the country’s GDP and the farming industry.

To get a better understanding of why exports are important, the US Grains Council breaks down the numbers:

U.S. exports of feed grains in all forms in 2015/2016 totaled 100.5 million metric tons (3.96 billion bushels), an increase of more than 300,000 metric tons (11.8 million bushels) from the previous marketing year and the second highest level on record, new trade data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show.

The feed grains in all forms calculation made by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) accounts for feed grains exported by the United States in either unprocessed or value-added forms, which offers a holistic look at demand from global customers being met by U.S. farmers.

It includes U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten feed (CGF), corn gluten meal (CGM), ethanol as measured in corn equivalents, meat and poultry as measured in corn equivalents, and processed feed grain products.

The highest export volume recorded by this measure was in 2008 with 100.6 million metric tons, only slightly higher than the 2015/2016 total.

In the marketing year that just finished, higher exports of corn, DDGS, and pork offset lower exports of barley, CGF and CGM, sorghum and poultry from the previous marketing year.

Exports of unprocessed feed grains (corn, sorghum and barley) accounted for only 56.6 percent of total exports of feed grains in all forms.

According to 10-year projections by the USDA and USGC, feed grains in all forms have a positive outlook in the future as exports are expected to increase by 26.5 million metric tons (1.04 billion bushels) to 127 million metric tons (5 billion bushels) by 2025/2026. These larger exports will come in the forms of corn, ethanol, and meat and poultry.

Looking at the bigger picture of U.S. grain demand, unprocessed feed grains accounted for almost 16 percent of U.S. feed grain production in the 2015/2016 marketing year. However, exports consumed 27 percent of U.S. grain when including value-added forms of feed grain exports.

By 2025/2026, feed grain and products exports are expected to reach almost a third of U.S. production with international markets for U.S. corn as an animal feed, ethanol and meat as the industry's principal drivers.

To achieve these possibilities, members of the U.S. feed grains industry support broad-based trade agreements such as those signed with Central America, Peru and Colombia as well as the pending 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). These agreements improve market access for both unprocessed and value-added forms of feed grains and also open opportunities for market development by USGC and its partners.

More about the feed grains in all forms analysis and how U.S. exports fared in the last marketing year is available at USGC's feed grains in all forms portal here.