Farmers in top U.S. grain states are planning to rotate to other crops after repeated plantings of corn on the same fields, combined with a devastating drought in 2012, badly hurt yields.
Farmers in Iowa and Illinois, which accounted for almost 30 percent of U.S. corn production in 2012, are expected to shift some acreage that was seeded exclusively with corn over the past several years to soybeans this spring. They want to avoid another year of potentially significant losses as dry conditions persist, said agricultural market analysts and economists.
A move away from corn in those states may further drive up world food prices, which are already historically high, because corn stockpiles in the United States, the world's top exporter, are forecast to hit a 17-year low by the end of the summer.
Soaring corn prices, due in part to surging demand for ethanol, in recent years have encouraged a greater amount of corn being planted on the same land year-after-year despite the fact the practice depletes soil of nutrients and reduces yields.