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November 14, 2018

What is the Number One Crop in America?

Learn more about what makes corn the top crop in U.S. agricultural production

Ever wondered what the top crop in U.S. agricultural production is?

According to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), corn is the number one crop in America. It is the most grown crop as well as the most widely produced feed grain in the U.S., accounting for more than 95 percent of total production and use. In addition, the USDA ERS reports that corn is also processed into a wide range of food and industrial products including cereal, alcohol, sweeteners, and byproduct feeds.

In 2017, corn farmers across the nation planted over 90 million acres and harvested 82.7 million acres of corn, yielding 14.6 million bushels of corn. The ERS database indicates that although corn is grown in most U.S. states, production is concentrated in the Heartland region that includes Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, eastern portions of South Dakota and Nebraska, western Kentucky and Ohio, and the northern two-thirds of Missouri. The top corn producing states, Iowa and Illinois, typically account for about one-third of the U.S. crop.

Production is on the Rise for the Number One Crop in America

Corn production has been strong in the nation for many years, continuing to rise over time and remaining the number one crop. Currently, the U.S. is the largest corn producer in the world and exports between 10 and 20 percent of its annual production. Several major factors have contributed to the recent increases in U.S. agricultural production of corn, including:

  1. Increases in acreage planted per corn farm;
  2. Technological advancements;
  3. Improvements in production practices; and
  4. Strong demand for ethanol production.

Although the number of feed grain farms – those producing corn, sorghum, barley, and/or oats – has declined in recent years, the planted acreage per corn farm has actually risen. Moreover, the number of large corn farms (500+ acres) has increased and the number of small corn farms (less than 500 acres) has fallen.

Additionally, U.S. corn farmers have taken advantage of technological advancements (seed varieties, fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery) and improvements in production practices like reduced tillage, irrigation, crop rotations, and pest management systems to produce higher yields.

Another element contributing to the increase in U.S. agricultural production of corn has been the increase in demand for ethanol production. In turn, the demand has driven corn prices higher, incentivizing farmers to produce more corn. To meet the demand, the farming industry has increased corn acreage by adjusting crop rotations, shifting to corn from other crops, and planting corn on cropland formerly utilized as pasture.

Learn more about U.S. agricultural production of the number one crop and the nation’s other top crops by checking out the top 10 produce crops in the U.S. based on ERS reports. If you are looking for ways to leverage the value in your ag land, AgAmerica Lending has the right financial solution for your operation. Contact us today.

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