Bioenergy Articles on Bioenergy Crops

Record U.S. trade driven by economic growth in developing countries and favorable exchange rates, combined with tight global grain supplies, resulted in record or near-record prices for corn, soybeans, and other food and feed grains in 2007. For corn, these factors, along with increased demand for ethanol, helped push prices from under $2 per bushel in 2005 to $3.40 per bushel in 2007. By the end of the 2006/07 crop year, over 2 billion bushels of corn (19 percent of the harvested crop) were used to produce ethanol, a 30-percent increase from the previous year. Higher corn prices motivated farmers to increase corn acreage at the expense of other crops, such as soybeans and cotton, raising their prices as well.

Recent hikes in oil prices have raised serious concerns in low-income countries, both because of the financial burden of the higher energy import bill and potential constraints on imports of necessities like food and raw materials. Higher oil prices also have sparked energy security concerns worldwide, increasing the demand for biofuel production. The use of feed crops for biofuels, coupled with greater food demand spurred by high income growth in populous countries, such as China and India, has reversed the long-term path of declining price trends for several commodities.