Once again soaring demand from the ethanol industry is reducing US maize
supplies, keeping prices near 10-year highs. This trend makes it difficult for
analysts to estimate how much of the feed grain will be available at the end of
The ethanol industry is expected to use over 2.0 billion bushels of maize
this year, roughly 20% of the US crop and about equal to the amount exported by
the United States each year.
Farmers gear up to plant as much maize as they can but so
much is predicated on weather. Even if we get 8, 10 or 12 million more acres or
whatever, production still will be determined by weather," said Daniel Bluntzer,
director of research for Chicago-based trade house Frontier Risk
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release its
February supply/demand report Friday. Analysts project that US maize stocks at
the end of the current (2006/07) marketing year will reach 766 million bushels.
This is more than 60% less than the supply at the end of last
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