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Here comes the grain again: USDA expects record corn crop

Here comes the grain again: USDA expects record corn crop
The USDA expects a record corn crop this upcoming season. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

With U.S. farmers planting the largest crop of corn in 75 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects the resulting harvest to reach new records. And that could mean cheaper food for consumers.

Assuming the weather cooperates, the country could produce 48 million tons of corn, up 4.5 million tons. Globally, corn production will grow by 75 million tons, or 10%, to 946 million tons due to record crops in the U.S., China, Brazil and Ukraine, according to the USDA.

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Calculated another way, 1.9 billion bushes of corn are expected to be produced from September through August 2013 – more than double the 851 million bushels the previous year and a record 166 bushels per acre.

Corn probably will replace wheat as animal feed in many countries, according to the USDA. The production of wheat is not keeping up with demand.

The bumper American corn supply – expected to be the largest in more than a decade – should help tamp down the price of corn as much as 25%. Prices surged during the last growing season after poor weather hurt supply even as demand skyrocketed.

The plant, which is one of the key building blocks of the American food industry, is closely watched by analysts. Lower prices could translate into cheaper meat, processed foods and beverages for Americans.

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