Demand for corn falls, food prices could level off

By CHRISTOPHER LEONARD | August 11, 2011 | 8:59 AM EDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Food prices could level off at the end of the year because farmers are seeing less demand for corn and are expecting a big crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers expect 940 million bushels to be left over when the harvest begins this fall. That's up from last month's estimate of 880 million bushels.

Record-high corn prices forced many ranchers to seek cheaper alternatives for feeding their livestock, such as wheat. The drop in demand, combined with the big corn crop, is likely to force prices down.

Corn is used in everything from beef to cereal to soft drinks. It typically takes six months for a change in corn prices to affect products on supermarket shelves.