According to Good, the weekly estimates of domestic ethanol production have also been erratic. "Based on weekly estimates through April 22, it appears that total ethanol production in March and the first three weeks of April was nearly 6% larger than in the same period last year. This compares to the 4% increase that is needed from March through August for corn used for ethanol and byproduct production to reach the USDA projection of 5 billion bushels," he says.

Little is known about the rate of domestic corn feeding. Declining hog and cattle prices have raised some concern about feed demand. However, the feedlot inventory of cattle on April 1, 2011, was 5% larger than the inventory of a year earlier, Good says.

"In addition, the rapid switch to wheat feeding that was being discussed a few weeks ago has likely been put on hold as wheat prices have increased relative to corn prices. The June 1 Grain Stocks report, to be released on June 30, will reveal the rate of feed and residual use of corn during the third quarter of the marketing year," he says.