The things we can do with corn are endless. You can make biscuits, tortillas, and even medicinal products and animal feed. Billions of tons of corn are produced today in many countries. But it was in Mexico that the vegetable originated. Maize was cultivated by native tribes in Mexico over 9,000 years ago. After the Spanish invasion, they took corn back to Spain and eventually it spread all over the world. Now, Mexico isn’t the top producer of corn, other countries come out on top. Corn has to be planted in spring, however, it can be produced anywhere that isn’t too cold.
Let’s explore the 10 countries that produce the most corn in the world. These countries are diverse and located all over the world.
1. United States
When it comes to corn production in the US, Iowa is the state with the biggest production. You’ll see more corn fields in Iowa and corn will start coming out of your ears! The Midwest dominates corn production, though, and is known as the corn belt. As the top producer of corn in the world, there are various ways the country uses corn. Livestock feed is by far the biggest use of corn, followed by ethanol. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in worry that farmers won’t be able to produce enough necessary corn. Climate change has threatened corn fields with more and more droughts plaguing the corn belt.
China has blown away with its corn production. It has steadily climbed up in corn production over the years and scientists have indicated that China may be self-sufficient in the production of corn by 2030. This change is due to crop management that Chinese farmers have perfected recently. Although recent floods in many areas in China have threatened the agriculture industry, there is also a very good chance that they will be in the top spot of corn producers in the world in the near future.
Fascinatingly enough, 50% of Brazil’s agribusinesses are now in the grain sector. Corn has been elevated as the second most important crop in the country. That is quite a feat since it was only used for human consumption at the beginning of the country’s corn production history. But they have expanded the use of corn. They also have managed to grow corn at all times of the year, due to their different climatic patterns throughout the vast country. This has tripled production in the last 15 years. They will continue to go up in numbers, remaining competitive with China and the US.
Argentina is the largest exporter of soybeans in the world and when it comes to corn, they come in at number four on the list. The country has doubled corn production in the past 20 years. Argentina, however, has suffered droughts in the past few years which has threatened grain and crop production. Luckily, over the summer of 2023, Argentina welcomed the much-needed rains that ensured Argentina was on track to produce more corn and soybeans than expected.
Known as Europe’s breadbasket, Ukraine is a leader in European and global corn and grain production. However, the Russia-Ukraine war has impacted not only the grain and corn supply but also the global agricultural markets. Undoubtedly, Ukraine does not produce as much as before the war started, but economists who feared the worst were pleasantly surprised when that did not happen. Grain and corn production has steadily come back in the year and a half since the war started. Ukraine, however, has incurred losses that are in the billions.
Maize is mainly produced in the central and southern regions of India. Although historically the crop has not been important, it has emerged as the third most produced crop in recent years. Now, corn is a valuable crop for Indians, as well as for India’s economy. India’s uses for corn are vast, turning corn into a variety of products like cosmetics, paper, oil, and alcohol, among others. The best part is that India can cultivate the crop year-round, which has proved useful in increasing production and exportation.
It’s no surprise that the country that invented corn is on this list. They may be number seven on the list, but one of the biggest products they produce with corn is tortillas. And tortillas are a huge staple in Mexican cuisine, one of the most popular cuisines in the world. The main crop grown in Mexico is maize and a whopping two-thirds comes from small farms. So next time you go to Mexico, just think that the Mexican street corn you’re eating is coming to you from a locally produced farm. That’s awesome and eco-friendly!
Indonesia’s corn production was not a priority way back when. Historically, they have produced other crops and products. But as corn has emerged as a highly versatile crop and Indonesia has proven itself as a worthy competitor in corn production, Indonesia has increased its cultivation drastically.
9. South Africa
South Africa has emerged as one of the new leaders in corn production. They are the largest corn producer in the African continent. And in recent years, they have increased production so much that it has become attractive to Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam. Corn is 90% of the total agricultural production in South Africa with white corn mainly used for human consumption and yellow corn for animal feed.
The only country part of the European Union rounds out the top 10 list of corn producers. The 27 member states of the European Union do, however, produce 73 million tons and if they were an individual country, they would take the number four spot. At the onset of the Russia-Ukraine War, French farmers saw this as an opportunity to increase corn and grain production to be more self-sustainable.
And there you have it, the 10 countries that produce the most corn in the world. These countries are unique because they have different climates, but the common thread between them is that they aren’t too cold in climates where corn can’t grow.
If you find yourself visiting any of these countries, you can make the most of it and visit a field that produces corn. Or maybe, just maybe, you can eat some of the products that contain corn. In the US, you can eat some cornbread. In Indonesia, get some corn fritters. And in Mexico, get a plate of carne asada tacos, but make sure you tell the taqueria you want them on corn tortillas. Mmm, what a delicious treat!
Summary of the Top 10 Countries That Grow the Most Corn in the World
|Rank||Country||Metric Tons Production|
|1||United States||383.9 million tons|
|2||China||272.6 million tons|
|3||Brazil||88.5 million tons|
|4||Argentina||60.5 million tons|
|5||Ukraine||42.1 million tons|
|6||India||31.6 million tons|
|7||Mexico||27.5 million tons|
|8||Indonesia||20 million tons|
|9||South Africa||16.9 million tons|
|10||France||15.4 million tons|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/zhengzaishuru
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