After struggling for months with extreme weather conditions and the worst drought in recent history, corn farmers across the country are beginning their summer harvest, hoping to gather as much of their crop as possible.
The current drought, one of the worst the country has seen in more than 50 years, is hitting farmers hard. More than two-thirds of the nation is experiencing some form of drought, with one-third experiencing severe to extreme drought. The severe weather comes at a bad time for American farmers, who had hoped to raise the largest corn crop in 80 years this summer, but instead saw their crops wither in the face extreme weather.
The extreme drought has severely damaged crops across the country (states like Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana have seen up to 80 percent of their crop affected by drought conditions) and has also sped up the harvesting schedule. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, roughly 4 percent of the nation’s corn crop has been harvested (compared to normal August averages of 1 percent).
The reason for the speedy harvest is the extreme heat and arid conditions. Normally farmers need to wait for fields to dry or spend significant amounts of money on blowers to dry fields for them. The extreme drought, however, has sped up this process, allowing farmers to harvest their crops sooner than normal.
Despite the early harvest, few farmers are anticipating high yields. Those who haven’t suffered total losses and plowed up their fields are bound to see a significantly reduced harvest thanks to the drought.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer