According to an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, corn crops in 18 states have been damaged by severe droughts across the country. While it’s not quite clear what the extent of the damage will be, most farmers expect a drop in nationwide corn production.
Earlier this year, farmers across the country had planned to plant and harvest the largest corn crop in recent history. Taking advantage of a warmer than average winter (which extended growing seasons earlier than usual) and high corn prices, farmers staked much on a major corn crop this summer (with many farmers cancelling Conservation Reserve contracts to maximize arable land).
The recent drought, however, has complicated these plans. Farmers have gone weeks with little to no rain as temperatures across the Corn Belt reached record highs. One Illinois farmer finally gave up on his entire corn crop after receiving less than an inch of rainfall since April.
Farmers had planted more than 96 million acres and the USDA predicted a final harvest of 166 bushels per acre. Thanks to the heat and the drought, the USDA is now expecting 146 bushels per acre.
While the lower than anticipated growth is an unpleasant surprise for many farmers, the expected harvest is still higher than averages from a decade ago, largely thanks to the increasing use of genetically modified and drought resistant crops.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer