Ethanol production is using more of the U.S. corn crop than livestock production and will remain the top user until at least 2014, according to North American Risk Management Services Inc.

Corn use for ethanol mushroomed from 1.3 billion bushels in 2005 to a little more than 5 billion bushels last year, devouring 40% of the harvest, according to a Bloomberg report, and corn for feed (formerly the biggest share of the crop) dropped to around 4.8 billion bushels during the period -- a decrease of 22%.

Ethanol may consume as much as 5.1 billion bushels of corn in the year that began Sept. 1, Jerry Gidel, a market analyst for Chicago-based North American Risk Management, said in the report, while feed demand is forecast to drop to 4.6 billion bushels, the lowest since 1990, after the U.S. cattle herd on July 1 fell to the smallest for that date since at least 1973.

 “Demand for corn from ethanol producers will likely exceed feed consumption for at least another 24 months,” Gidel said.