Mother nature versus the market - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mother Nature versus the market


80 degrees and humid may mean uncomfortable conditions for people, but crops love it. Corn, soybeans, oats and other Iowa crops have fared well so far, thanks to warm weather and consistent rain.

Unlike past years, weather and growing conditions this season aren't the biggest concerns when it comes to crops. The market may be more volatile than Mother Nature.

The price of corn hit an all-time high earlier this month, nearing $8 per bushel. That's good news for corn farmers, but it's not so great for anyone trying to buy.

Dubuque County farmer Matt Heitz spoke with KWWL in early May, when cool, wet weather threatened the planting process.

"Things were wet, and it was looking like we could've been into a really late spring, but the weather straightened out and we were able to plant in a very timely manner, got the fertilizer all applied and things are looking pretty good right now," he said Monday in a follow-up interview.

Now his crop is well on its way to that old saying, "Knee-high by the Fourth of July," Heitz said, "and I think we're going to be far beyond that, hopefully."

The Iowa Farm Bureau says all crops are in good shape for farmers throughout Eastern Iowa but not necessarily throughout the entire region.

"The flooding on the Missouri River is a major issue, and the heavy rains south of us are also a major issue," Heitz said. "In the Eastern corn belt, a lot of the corn didn't get planted or it was planted very late, to where that could affect yields in a very negative way."

A decreased corn supply, of course, drives up both demand and prices. Flooding isn't the only factor.

"The value of the dollar, the exports, the domestic use with ethanol, livestock consumption," Heitz listed.

As farmers' crops continue to grow this year, so does their mindfulness of the market and how the harvest will feed that.

High grain prices are no win-win situation. It's great for grain producers, but livestock farmers have to pay more to feed their animals. That, in turn, drives up the prices of beef, poultry and other meats at the grocery store.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said Monday much of the crop along the flooded Missouri River remains in good shape, but persistent rains have made it difficult for farmers to finish fertilizing the corn.

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