Brazil is projected to eclipse the U.S in corn exports in 2013. (Photo by Carrie Muehling/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
CHAMPAIGN - A local agriculture expert said he expects the U.S. will resume its place atop the list of top corn exporters after a drought-plagued 2012.
Robert Hoeft, interim associate dean with the University of Illinois Extension in Champaign-Urbana, said Brazil, the nation that could eclipse the U.S. in corn exports this year, benefits from warm weather year-round, while an exceptionally dry 2012 hurt the U.S. corn crop.
"The drought through much of the Corn Belt did reduce our production considerably and we are using a lot more corn now in the ethanol program and elsewhere so exports have decreased," Hoeft said.
Hoeft, who has visited Brazil and studied its farmland, added that he doesn't expect Brazil's projection for a record harvest to become a trend.
"This last year was kind of an oddity in terms of their weather patterns where they did really well. All indications are that they are probably going to shift back to a lot more soybean acreage and not dwell as much on the corn," Hoeft said.
Hoeft said while Brazil has a better climate that enables its farmers to plant year-round, U.S. farmers have the infrastructure and the experience.
"We have a lot of advantages with the infrastructure we've got and the talented farmers we've got in this country. People who know what they are doing in producing corn and soybeans," Hoeft said.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.