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The Long-Run Impact of Corn-Based Ethanol on the Grain, Oilseed, and Livestock Sectors with Implications for Biotech Crops

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  • Elobeid, Amani
  • Tokgoz, Simla
  • Hayes, Dermot J.
  • Babcock, Bruce
  • Hart, Chad E.

Abstract

The ongoing growth of corn-based ethanol production raises some fundamental questions about what impact continued growth will have on U.S. and world agriculture. Estimates of the long-run potential for ethanol production can be made by calculating the corn price at which the incentive to expand ethanol production disappears. Under current ethanol tax policy, if the prices of crude oil, natural gas, and distillers grains stay at current levels, then the break-even corn price is $4.05 per bushel. A multi-commodity, multi-country system of integrated commodity models is used to estimate the impacts if we ever get to $4.05 corn. At this price, corn-based ethanol production would reach 31.5 billion gallons per year, or about 20% of projected U.S. fuel consumption in 2015. Supporting this level of production would require 95.6 million acres of corn to be planted. Total corn production would be approximately 15.6 billion bushels, compared to 11.0 billion bushels today. Most of the additional corn acres come from reduced soybean acreage. Wheat markets would adjust to fulfill increased demand for feed wheat. Corn exports and production of pork and poultry would all be reduced in response to higher corn prices and increased utilization of corn by ethanol plants. These results should not be viewed as a prediction of what will eventually materialize. Rather, they indicate a logical end point to the current incentives to invest in corn-based ethanol plants.

Suggested Citation

  • Elobeid, Amani & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Babcock, Bruce & Hart, Chad E., 2007. "The Long-Run Impact of Corn-Based Ethanol on the Grain, Oilseed, and Livestock Sectors with Implications for Biotech Crops," ISU General Staff Papers 200701010800001003, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genstf:200701010800001003
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    Cited by:

    1. Wu, Feng & Guan, Zhengfei & Yu, Fan & Myers, Robert J., 2013. "The spillover effects of biofuel policy on participation in the conservation reserve program," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1755-1770.
    2. Elobeid, Amani & Tokgoz, Simla, 2008. "AJAE Appendix for “Removing Distortions in the U.S. Ethanol Market: What Does It Imply for the United States and Brazil?”," American Journal of Agricultural Economics APPENDICES, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1-30, February.
    3. Chen, Sheng-Tung & Kuo, Hsiao-I & Chen, Chi-Chung, 2010. "Modeling the relationship between the oil price and global food prices," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(8), pages 2517-2525, August.
    4. Condon, Nicole & Klemick, Heather & Wolverton, Ann, 2015. "Impacts of ethanol policy on corn prices: A review and meta-analysis of recent evidence," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 63-73.
    5. Jacinto F. Fabiosa & John C. Beghin & Fengxia Dong & JAmani Elobeid & Simla Tokgoz & Tun-Hsiang Yu, 2010. "Land Allocation Effects of the Global Ethanol Surge: Predictions from the International FAPRI Model," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 687-706.
    6. McPhail, Lihong Lu & Babcock, Bruce A., 2012. "Impact of US biofuel policy on US corn and gasoline price variability," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 505-513.
    7. Bruce A. Babcock, 2008. "Distributional Implications of U.S. Ethanol Policy ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 533-542.
    8. Mugera, Harriet & Gilbert, Christopher, 2015. "Structural Change in the Relationship Between Energy and Food Prices," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212505, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    9. Shih-Wen Hu & Li-Ju Chen & Vey Wang & Meng-Yi Tai & Lee-Jung Lu & Chiu-Yue Lin, 2015. "Energy Policies and Food Prices," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 11(1), pages 47-68, January.
    10. Moschini, GianCarlo & Cui, Jingbo & Lapan, Harvey E., 2012. "Economics of Biofuels: An Overview of Policies, Impacts and Prospects," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), vol. 1(3), pages 1-28, December.
    11. Philip Abbott, 2014. "Biofuels, Binding Constraints, and Agricultural Commodity Price Volatility," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Food Price Volatility, pages 91-131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Algieri, Bernardina, 2014. "The influence of biofuels, economic and financial factors on daily returns of commodity futures prices," Discussion Papers 164963, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    13. Diermeier, Matthias & Schmidt, Torsten, 2014. "Oil price effects on land use competition: an empirical analysis," Agricultural Economics Review, Greek Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17.
    14. Baker, Mindy L. & Babcock, Bruce A., 2008. "Value maximization from corn fractionation: feed, greenhouse gas reductions, and cointegration of ethanol and livestock," Integration of Agricultural and Energy Systems Conference, February 12-13, 2008, Atlanta, Georgia 48714, Farm Foundation.
    15. Elobeid Amani & Hart Chad, 2007. "Ethanol Expansion in the Food versus Fuel Debate: How Will Developing Countries Fare?," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-23, December.
    16. Philip Abbott, 2013. "Biofuels, Binding Constraints and Agricultural Commodity Price Volatility," NBER Working Papers 18873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Cui, Jingbo & Martin, Jeremy I., 2017. "Impacts of US biodiesel mandates on world vegetable oil markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 148-160.

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