China Pushing Corn Production

With American corn farmers still reeling from the summer’s devastating drought, Chinese corn producers are quietly laying the foundation for a major production revolution.

For most of the spring and summer, a severe drought hammered farmers across the United States. From California to Ohio, communities across the country suffered from record high temperatures and record low precipitation. This extreme weather withered crops (especially heat and moisture sensitive crops like corn) and dried fields.

While American corn production may have plummeted, Chinese corn farmers are heavily investing in their industry, hoping to gain self-sufficiency within a few years. This drive towards sufficiency is bad news for American farmers who counted China as one of their most important markets. In 2011, for example, China imported 5.5 million tons of corn, helping to drive prices to $8 a bushel.

The Chinese government is particularly invested in hybrid crop production, which helps expand harvest yields and create studier plants. The government’s heavy investment in crop technology could increase the nation’s yield this year to 200 million tons, causing exports to plummet.

“My view is that within the next 7-10 years the gap in terms of demand and supply will probably be reduced to close to zero if the technology can reach the farmer,” said Diego Diz, China corn marketing lead for Monsanto.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer