Corn is the most produced grain in the world. It is a staple food for many people and a major component of livestock feed. The grain is also processed and used in a multitude of products, including fuel, such as ethanol, food products and industrial products. Corn is produced all around the world, and this list of major corn producers is fairly consistent from year to year. For a compilation of this list, production data from the 2015 to 2016 season was used. Note that the corn season runs from the beginning of October through the end of September.
1. United States
The United States is the largest producer and exporter of corn, with production in the 2015-2016 season pegged at 13.601 million bushels. In the United States, though the acreage dedicated to planting corn changes from season to season, the country usually plants more than 90 million acres of land with corn. Domestically, in the 2015-2016 season, consumption was approximated at 11.870 million bushels. The major domestic use of corn is as feed grain for livestock.
China's current season corn production is estimated to come in at 8.841 million bushels, and 8.425 million bushels of this corn is consumed domestically. While the country is a major corn producer, the amount of acres that Chinese farmers dedicate to corn will likely change. The Chinese government ended a decade-long oil scheme to boost domestic corn prices. With this price support removed, farmers will switch to planting higher value crops, such as soybeans, at the expense of corn. Farmers already said that they will make the shift to higher value crops, and if corn demand remains high while supply dwindles, China could increase the amount of corn that it imports.
Brazil is a major producer of many agricultural crops, including coffee, sugar and soybeans, and it is the world's third-largest corn producer. Of the estimated 3.208 million bushels of corn that the country will produce this season, the majority will be consumed domestically. Domestic consumption in the season is estimated at 2.992 million bushels.
Argentina is a significant producer of corn, and also a very significant exporter, because the country does not even make the top 11 list of corn consumers. Its recent corn production is estimated at 1.008 million bushels. Data for the world's top corn consumers stopped with the 11th-ranked Indonesia, with 500 million bushels of corn consumed. This means that Argentina must export the majority of its produced corn.
Mexico's corn production was pegged at 925 million bushels; however, the country is not an exporter of corn. In fact, the country's corn production is not enough to satisfy its demand of 1,325 million bushels, making the country a significant importer of corn.
Tied with Mexico, Ukraine's production for the season came in at 925 million bushels, but an important difference is that Ukraine is a significant corn exporter. Ukraine, due to its proximity, can export corn to the EU and help make up for that region’s supply deficit. As an exporter, the health of the country’s corn crop will influence global corn prices.
The European Union
Although not an independent country, the European Union (EU) deserves a mention because this region of 28 countries is a major corn producer and consumer, and this data is cumulated as a unit. For the 2015-2016 season, the union as a whole was the fourth-largest corn producer, with 2.274 million bushels of corn produced. However, the region's corn production is not enough to meet demand. The EU's corn demand is estimated at 2.992 million bushels, making the region a net importer of corn.