More corn is produced than any other grain crop, and for good reason. It is a staple food for many people and a major component of livestock feed. Corn is used as a high-fructose sweetener in many processed foods, and it's the main ingredient in corn oil, corn starch, and corn syrup.
Corn can be used to create ethanol fuel, and even the cobs have industrial uses for their absorbent qualities.
Corn is grown as a cash crop around the world. Production data for the 2019–2020 production season is used for this list of major corn-producing nations.
1. United States
The U.S. is by far the world's largest producer and exporter of corn, with production in the 2019–2020 season pegged at 346.0 million metric tons. The acreage dedicated to planting corn changes from season to season, but in all about 90 million acres of American land are planted with corn each season. Domestic consumption was a large percentage of the total, and approximately half of that was used as feed grain for livestock.
China's current season corn production is estimated at 260.8 million metric tons, and it is consumed almost exclusively domestically. While the country is a major corn producer, the number of acres that Chinese farmers dedicate to corn will likely decline now that the government has ended price supports on domestic corn. Farmers can be expected to switch to higher-value crops such as soybeans. 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 crops including coffee, sugar, and soybeans, and it is the world's third-largest corn producer. Of the estimated 102 million metric tons of corn that the country produces annually, most will be consumed domestically.
Argentina is a significant producer of corn, and also a significant exporter of it. Its annual corn production is estimated at 51 million metric tons, but its corn consumption nationally doesn't even make the top 10 list worldwide. Although precise figures are not available, that means it exports more than half its production.
Ukraine had a record amount of corn produced in 2019 at 35.9 million metric tons. The country has used its rich soil to grow their production from their 2017 season when they produced less than 25 million metric tons.
The list of top producers stays pretty stable from year to year. That said, India is creeping up on the list slowly but surely. It now produces 26 million metric tons per year of corn.
About the European Union
Data is not collected individually for nations within the European Union. However, this region of 27 countries deserves an honorable mention as a major corn producer and consumer. For the 2019–2020 season, the Union as a whole was the fourth-largest corn producer, with 66.74 million metric tons of corn produced. The EU is, however, a net importer of corn to meet demand.