The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the largest corn crop in 63 years is on the horizon as farmers cash in on the ethanol gold rush. Estimates indicate more than 90 million acres will be planted with corn this spring. Experts say corn is selling above production cost for the first time in 30 years, and farmers are reacting with record planting. In fact, prices have more than doubled since last August, and the total windfall could be $50 billion. With a successful harvest, farmers will reap 12.5 billion bushels this autumn. That's 700 million more than the 2004 record. On the flip side, other crops such as soybean, rice and cotton will decline. With the increased corn supply and about 80 biofuel refineries going on line, ethanol production is expected to jump from 5.6 billion gallons to 8 billion this year.

[Source: Richard Luscombe & Jacqui Goddard /]

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