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What Happens to Iowa's Corn Crop?

Posted on June 8, 2015 at 4:53 PM by Iowa Corn

In 2014, Iowa farmers produced nearly 2.37 billion bushels of corn!  But what happens to all of that corn?  Who will use it? Where does it go?

Typically, Iowa has three primary markets for its corn: ethanol, exports and livestock. This year, our main markets are ethanol and livestock.

Ethanol is Iowa’s largest user of corn; producing high octane fuel for drivers and high-protein feed for livestock and poultry industries here in Iowa and around the world. This year, Iowa’s 42 ethanol plants are expected to use approximately 1.3 billion bushels of corn, which will produce well over 3.9 billion gallons of renewable ethanol fuel and 9.37 million U.S. tons of the livestock feed, distillers dried grains (DDGs).

The other primary market for Iowa’s corn crop is livestock. Feed and residual use will consume 455 million bushels of this year’s crop. Actual feed use in state will total approximately 296 million bushels. Below is an estimated corn consumption breakdown for 2014/2015 crop from the state’s different livestock sectors:



  1. Hogs – 163 million bushels
  2. Beef Cattle – 61 million bushels
  3. Poultry – 52 million bushels
  4. Dairy – 18 million bushels
  5. Other – 2 million bushels    

Another major livestock-related market for corn is distillers dried grains (DDGs). This often forgotten ethanol co-product has become extremely popular among cattle feeders, hog producers and poultry feeders due to its high protein content compared to whole corn and soybean meal.  2.315 million short tons will be fed to livestock and poultry in the state of Iowa, and another 7.054 million short tons will be exported. The 2.315 million short tons that will be fed in Iowa will displace the need for an additional 118 million bushels of corn. This stat clearly debunks the “food vs. fuel” myth–ethanol produces “FOOD and FUEL.”  

Being able to provide food, feed, clean fuel and fiber to the world’s growing population is something that all Iowans should take great pride in.




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