Dry corn could have major economic impact - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dry corn could have major economic impact


We're finally getting some relief from the heat, but there's still no major rain in sight.  The continued drought across the Midwest is sending corn prices sky high, climbing 37 percent in the past month to a nine-month record of $7.13 a bushel.

Without some rain soon, the prices may keep pushing higher, ultimately pinching your pocketbook.

Corn is the lifeblood of Iowa's agriculture economy.  This year, the crop is aching for water.

"You know, we need another six to eight inches of rain," said Vince McFadden, a Black Hawk County farmer.

While we still need some rainfall, much of the Iowa corn, by and large, is still looking fairly good.  But now that it's starting to tassel, Mother Nature needs to provide some moisture now more than ever. 

"Right now, we're getting into the critical time where corn needs about an inch and a half of rain per week just to maintain and grow," said McFadden.

But further south in the Midwest, the drought is more severe, leaving corn fields parched.  In Iowa, struggling stalks like this might even be useless for grain silage.  So the longer the dry spell sticks around, the market for any hearty corn will be strong, pushing up prices further.  And that isn't entirely a good thing

"One of the problems with it being such a national drought is if prices stay up too high, it's really hard for the ethanol users, the people that are making corn in the food, soybeans, protein, for long term demand.  And our friends from overseas, too. We don't want to hurt demand long-term because that would have a trickle.  Once you start losing some of those markets, it's hard to get them back," McFadden said.

The harm of high prices will likely extend to your pocketbook, too.  Experts predict more costly animal feed will spike what you pay for meat, poultry and fish, by up to five percent.

The USDA just dropped the corn crop's condition rating for the fourth straight week.  Less than half of all corn nationwide is considered "good" or "excellent", the worst to-date average since 1988.


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