US Corn Production By State: The Top 10 Rankings

US Corn Production by State: The Top 10

The primary cause of year-to-year variation in corn production by state is:

  1. The number of acres planted by producers to grow corn, and
  2. The weather conditions that occur during the corn growing season.

CropProphet provides weather-based corn yield and corn production forecasts. In other words, we help to manage weather risk and create weather opportunities for grain market trading. Free trials are available.

The Top 10 2019 Corn producing states were:

  1. Iowa
  2. Illinois
  3. Nebraska
  4. Minnesota
  5. Indiana
  6. Kansas
  7. South Dakota
  8. Missouri
  9. North Dakota
  10. Wisconsin

State Corn Production Rankings

According to the USDA NASS, 41 states produced a significant harvestable amount of corn in 2019, as shown below. The United States produced 13.7 billion bushels of corn in 2019. Iowa ranked first in corn production by a wide margin. Iowa produced almost 700 times more corn than Utah, which ranks #41 in US corn production by state.

National corn prices (i.e. corn futures prices) during each year are impacted not only by the national level of production but frequently how much a specific state produces. Local cash crop basis prices are directly impacted by the market perceptions of the corn and soybean production forecasts at the county level. This can have a direct impact on the corn producer. As a result, understanding not only corn production but also forecasts of corn production can have important financial implications for all participants in the grain markets.

The table below shows 2019 corn production by state.

State Corn Production: 2014-2019

Going a few years back, we can look at US corn production by state rankings from 2015 to 2019, sorted by 2019 corn production.

Corn Production by State: 2015-2019

Top 10 Rankings of State Corn Production

The table above is difficult to visualize. Given that the ranking of the top 10 states producing corn seems to be relatively stable since 2016 , we can look at the change in ranking over time. Interestingly, during this time the history of state corn yields have generally increased but the top corn-producing states have not.

The chart shows that Iowa has ranked #1 in corn production by state since 1994. In 1993 Illinois ranked #1. It’s also interesting to see that Nebraska ranked #5 regularly in the 1960s but is now solidly ranked #3.

Impact of Flooding on Corn Yield – 1993

The rankings of the top corn producing states over the past five years has remained relatively stable. What might cause the ranking to change in any year? It’s likely due to two factors. One is a significant change in the number of acres corn is grown in a certain year. Another is the weather contitions over the regions growing corn.

As an example, let’s take a look at what happened in 1993 that allowed Illinois to celebrate being the #1 producer of corn in the United States if only for one year. The maps below show both the total precipitation by county for May, June, and July 1993. July 1993 in particular has as much as 19 inches of rain above normal focused on Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas.

1993 Precipitation
1993 Precipitation

We can also look at the corn yield forecasts in terms of “deviation from technology trend” for the United States, Illinois, and Iowa. The progression of the yield forecasts shows that the significant precipitation in June negatively impacted Iowa corn yield and July simply made the situation worse. Meanwhile, during this timer Illinois remained essentially unscathed with regards to the corn yield forecast.

The result is that the significant June and July 1993 precipitation totals in Iowa cause a significant decline in corn production. This is evident in the below map of county level corn production relative to the technology trend for 1993.

The difference in production between Iowa and Illinois occurred because Iowa state yield declined substantially because of the precipitation, as can be further seen by using an animation of the corn yield forecasts.

Corn Production – 1993

The result of the corn yield decline caused by precipitation in 1993 was a significant decline in national production. The map below indicates a decline of 2.1 billion bushels of corn less than the technology trend yield would generate.

This significant weather-induced decline in Iowa production while Illinois corn production remained relatively unscathed allowed Illinois to rank first in state level corn production.

CropProphet provides users with quantified information relating to the impact of weather on grain yields and production. Request a trial today.