“Horror Story”: Corn Disaster Emerging in Heartland
July 17, 2012
Additional corn crop failures are likely, due to too little rain and too much heat through the middle of August.
Spotty downpours will grace northern and eastern areas of the corn belt into August, but not enough rain will fall on a large part of the corn belt, leading to a disaster.
AccuWeather.com agricultural meteorologists feel that a lack of rain will continue to take its toll on non-irrigated corn in much of Nebraska and Kansas, as well as huge sections of Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, southeastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Michigan and southeastern Wisconsin.
In these areas, a few tenths of an inch of rain will fall here and there in the weeks ahead with some areas barely getting a drop.
Broiling heat blanketed much of the Midwest on Tuesday, exacerbating the region’s worst drought in more than 50 years and devastating corn, soy and other vital crops.
From Chicago to St. Louis to Omaha, Nebraska, temperatures eclipsed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the National Weather Service (NWS) issued heat advisories across Midwest and mid-Atlantic states.
Many of the NWS heat advisories don’t expire until next week. Temperatures in Kansas City, Kansas for instance, are expected to hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday.
The current drought is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website.
In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad convened a hearing to discuss the drought and its effect on the state’s pork industry, which relies heavily on corn feed.
“It’s important that we do all we can to help people through this difficult time,” Branstad told local radio station KILJ. “And obviously more rain would help.”
About 55 percent of the contiguous United States is in a drought, just as corn plants should be pollinating, a period when adequate moisture is crucial. The United States ships more than half of all world exports of corn, which is made into dozens of products, from starch and ethanol to livestock feed.
“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”
July 17 (Reuters) – U.S. corn production has shrunk 7 percent versus the government’s downgraded estimate a week ago, a Reuters poll found on Tuesday, with a worsening drought likely to cause more damage before the month is out. As the worst drought since 1956 begins to expand to the northern and western Midwest, areas that had previously been spared, analysts are slashing corn yield estimates by the hour.