Higher production and more planted acres in South America are helping to offset drought conditions in Africa and Australia, keeping corn prices steady, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says.

The latest reports show that producers around the world are responding to higher prices by planting more corn,” says NCGA President Ken McCauley. “This is more proof that we can meet the world’s growing demand for food and fuel.”

According to the latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates published by USDA, South American producers are preparing to plant more of their winter crop acres to corn, in response to higher prices.

U.S. corn planting for 2007 is projected to increase by anywhere from 9 to 16% according to various estimates. USDA is scheduled to release its final pre-season estimate at the end of March.

Regardless of the final numbers, McCauley says the message is clear. “The market has spoken, and corn producers will respond,” he says. “There should be plenty of corn for all needs.”