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. It's 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 October 2017-September 2018 production season is used for this list of major corn-producing nations, based on data compiled by Statista.com, but the numbers remain fairly consistent from year to year.
1. United States
The U.S. is by far the world's largest producer and exporter of corn, with production in the 2017-2018 season pegged at 371 million metric tons. The acreage dedicated to planting corn changes from season to season, but in all more than 90 million acres of American land are planted with corn each season. Domestic consumption was about half the total, and most of that was used as feed grain for livestock.
China's current season corn production is estimated at 215.9 million metric tons, and almost all of it is consumed 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 82 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 32 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.
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 28.7 million metric tons per year of corn.
Mexico's corn production was pegged at 27.4 million metric tons, but the country does not export it. In fact, it's a major importer of corn in order to meet domestic demand.
About the European Union
Data is not collected individually for nations within the European Union. However, this region of 28 countries deserves an honorable mention as a major corn producer and consumer. For the 2017-2018 season, the Union as a whole was the fourth-largest corn producer, with 62.2 million metric tons of corn produced. The EU is, however, a net importer of corn to meet demand.