Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ethanol fuels huge corn planting

U.S. farmers plan to cash in on the fuel ethanol boom by planting the largest area of corn in 63 years, potentially yielding a record crop and calming fears that renewable fuels will steal grain needed for food and feed, the federal government said Friday.

...USDA forecasts corn usage of 12.3 billion bushels in 2007-2008, including 3.2 billion bushels for making ethanol, up 1 billion bushels from the 2006 crop.

...Growers told USDA they will cut back on soybeans in the Midwest and on cotton and rice in the South to sow more corn.

...USDA forecasts only a modest rise in food prices this year, but said, "With high corn prices increasing feed costs, beef and poultry price increases should begin to accelerate in 2007."

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