Beef production has declined in recent years, he adds. There were 3.85 million cattle and calves in Iowa as of Jan. 1, down 50,000 head from the previous year, according to USDA. Anderson expects beef production to decline a little more over the next year or two before rebounding.
Iowa will have to import corn because this year's crop won't be big enough
Korves says Iowa, the nation's leading corn production state, will have to import corn this coming year because the 2013 crop won't be large enough to meet demand. Ethanol plants are returning to full production and livestock operations are growing and need more feed. It's a rare situation for Iowa to import corn but this year's corn crop in Iowa has been hurt by flooding and delayed planting, and last year's crop was smaller than expected due to drought.
This year's corn forecasts are running at a reduced 149 bushels an acre, better than last year's 137 but far lower than the goal of 180 for a state average for Iowa, says Korves. As it stands now, Iowa is expected to come in below the projected national average of 152 bushels per acre. "A whole lot of people are worried about what is happening in Iowa this summer," he says.
Drop in corn prices has brought ethanol plants back toward full production
A drop in corn prices in recent months has brought ethanol plants back toward full production and livestock operations, with the exception of cattle, are expanding at least modestly. That increases demand for corn. Korves says Iowa will likely end up importing 221 million bushels of corn from other states. Iowa is project to produce around 2 billion bushels of corn in 2013.
No bordering state is in Iowa's predicament. All will end up with net exports of corn, from 584 million bushels leaving Illinois to 63 million shipped from Wisconsin. With Iowa using so much of its own corn, the nation now looks to North Dakota to help build reserves. But that state left 4.4 million acres unplanted this spring due to wet weather, far more than Iowa's estimated 200,000 to 400,000 unplanted acres, due to weather difficulties. "The Dakota number is astronomical," says Korves. The 4.4 million acres is equivalent to one-fifth of North Dakota's 22 million crop acres.