The U.S. corn crop is likely to shrink to 9.86 billion bushels, futures experts predict, thanks to the ongoing and worsening drought conditions currently affecting the Corn Belt. This represents a 24 percent drop from earlier government predictions and will likely result in higher food costs for American consumers.
Earlier this spring, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted record corn production across the U.S., citing farmers’ plans to take advantage of high corn prices and harvest the largest corn crop in recent history. June USDA predictions estimated 14.79 billion bushels of corn.
The summer drought, however, has shelved many of these plans, forcing farmers across the Midwest to give up on record-breaking corn harvests to focus instead on surviving the next few months. With more than half of the country listed as a disaster area, and with some farmers reporting crop losses of up to 80 percent, independent futures groups are predicting a sharp decline in the final corn crop.
The decline has already caused corn futures to surge, with prices hitting a record $8.205 per bushel. This price increase is almost certain to cause food costs to increase, especially with ethanol production diverting significant portions of the corn crop away from dinner tables. The USDA estimates that food prices could increase by 14 percent next year.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer