By Marie-Andrée Hamel and Erik Dorff 2014-03-18
When it comes to cereal crop production around the world, corn is king. This may come as a surprise to many. Anyone who has ever seen the endless seas of golden wheat on the Canadian Prairies might think that this lynchpin of Canadian agriculture is the number one cereal crop.
The same might be thought of rice and the landscape of paddies stretching as far as the eye can see across Asia. But instead, the most produced cereal crop worldwide is actually corn (also known as maize), a cereal native to the Americas. It outstrips both rice and wheat in terms of global production (Table 1).
|Commodity||World||Canada||Share of total||World position|
|... not applicable
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Maize or corn for grain1 is the number one cereal crop worldwide with 885.3 million tonnes produced in 2011 according to the FAO. The top producer was the United States with 313.9 million tonnes or 35.5% of global production. The 2 U.S. was followed by China which produced 192.8 million tonnes (21.8% of world production). Canada placed 11th in world production of corn with 10.7 million tonnes of grain corn produced in 2011 (Table 2).
|Rank||Country||Production||Share of world production|
|1||United States of America||313,948,610||35.5|
|Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, data accessed February 13, 2014.|
In Canada, over 32,300 farms reported planting 1.63 million hectares of corn (corn for grain, corn for silage and sweet corn) according to the 2011 Census of Agriculture. The value of farm cash receipts for grain corn alone reached $2.08 billion in 2011, ranking it as the third most valuable crop in Canada, after canola and wheat.3