The World's 6 Biggest Corn Producers

The World's 6 Biggest Corn Producers
The World's 6 Biggest Corn Producers

The World's 6 Biggest Corn Producers, More corn is produced than any other grain crop, and for good reason. It is a staple food for many people and helps to feed a growing world population. It's also a major component of livestock feed.

The Global Corn Landscape

According to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) "World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates" report, nations worldwide are projected to produce 1,150.68 million metric tons of corn for the 2022-2023 season and 1,222.77 million metric tons for the 2023-2024 season.1

Key Takeaways

Corn is the most produced crop in the world. It's a cash crop due to its consumption as food and as a component in many types of products. The U.S. produces more corn than any other nation.

Corn is considered a multipurpose agricultural crop globally. It is used in consumer items, industrial products, biofuels, a sweetener in many processed foods, and it's the main ingredient in corn oil, corn starch, and corn syrup. It's used to create ethanol fuel, and even the cobs have industrial uses due to their absorbent qualities.

Top Corn Producers

Read on for information about the world's major corn-producing nations in the 2021-2022 season.

1. United States

The U.S. is by far the world's largest producer of corn, with a 2021-2022 production of 382.89 million metric tons. The estimate for 2022-2023 is 348.75 million metric tons.2 The acreage dedicated to planting corn changes from season to season, but in all about 90 million acres of American land are planted with corn each production year. While the nation is an exporter of corn, most corn produced is used for domestic consumption as livestock feed and ethanol production. About 15% was exported in 2021-2022.3

2. China

China's 2021-2022 corn production was 272.55 million metric tons. For 2022-2023 the production estimate is 277.20 million metric tons.2 Its corn is used almost exclusively domestically.4 While the country is a major corn producer, the number of acres that Chinese farmers dedicate to corn will likely decline now that the government has ended price supports on domestic corn.5 Farmers are expected to switch to higher-value crops such as soybeans. If corn demand remains high while supply dwindles, China could increase the amount of corn that it imports.

3. Brazil

Brazil produced 116 million metric tons of corn in 2021-2022. The USDA projects that it will produce 135 million metric tons in 2022-2023.2 In addition to producing corn, the country is a major producer of many other crops including coffee, sugar, and soybeans. Though it consumes more corn than it exports, it is considered a major exporter of the crop.4

4. Argentina

Argentina is a significant corn producer and exporter. Its 2021-2022 corn production was 49.50 million metric tons. For 2022-23, it's estimated that the national production will drop to 34 million metric tons.2 Argentina's domestic corn consumption doesn't amount to much. In fact, of that 49.50 figure, it exported almost 70%, at 34.69 million metric tons.4

5. Ukraine

Ukraine is another major producer and exporter of corn. In the 2021-2022 season, it produced 42.13 million metric tons. The projection for 2022-2023 is 27 million metric tons. And despite the country's significant challenges due to the continuing war with Russia, it's expected to produce 27.5 million metric tons in 2023-2024.26 Ukraine exported almost 65% of its corn crop in 2021-2023.4

6. India

The list of top producers stays pretty stable from year to year. That said, India is moving up the list slowly but surely. In the 2021-2022 season, it produced 33.73 million metric tons of corn. The USDA estimates that it will produce 36 million metric tons in 2022-2023.2 India is neither a major exporter nor importer of corn.4

About the European Union

Data on corn production is not collected for individual nations within the European Union (EU). However, this region of 27 countries deserves an honorable mention as a major corn producer and consumer. For the 2021–2022 season, the EU as a whole could be considered the third-largest corn producer in the world, with 71.52 million metric tons of corn produced. The production projection for 2022-2023 is 52.23 million metric tons.2 At the same time, the EU is a net importer of corn to meet demand (importing 19.74 million metric tons versus exports of 6.03 million metric tons).4

Global Corn Production Breakdown

Here's a look at how the world's producers of corn ranked, by percentage of global supply.8

Country/Region Percentage of Global Production
United States 31.52%
China 22.38%
Brazil 9.52%
European Union 5.79%
Argentina 4.35%
Ukraine 3.46%
India 2.71%
Mexico 2.26%
South Africa 1.34%
Others 16.67%

Versatility of Corn

Corn can be used to produce a multitude of products, including animal feed, corn starch, sweeteners, corn oil, soups, gravies, soft drinks, chewing gum, glues, sandpaper, and inks.9

Corn and Ethanol Fuel

In the U.S., around 45% of all corn production goes to producing ethanol.3

Corn Production in the U.S.

While corn is grown from the Great Plains states to Ohio, the most corn is produced in Illinois and Iowa.3

The Verdict

More corn is grown throughout the entire world than any other grain crop. Its versatility makes it a commodity that goes beyond consumption as a food, as grown. Corn is used to produce an enormous number of other food products, as well as fuel and industrial products.

The Top Producers

The top producers of corn by individual country are the U.S., China, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, and India.