Food prices could be affected by wet spring - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Food prices could be affected by wet spring

A wet spring and local flooding could affect food prices in the coming months.

Charlie Dietz is a farmer in Plainview, Iowa. He spent much of the day indoors, working on machinery. Machinery that his fields were too wet to support. That's his life lately, a "lot of waiting."

"We were able to go yesterday, and that was the first day for about a week," he said.

Dietz' situation is not unique. The Department of Agriculture estimates that statewide, only .6 days have been suitable for fieldwork in the past week. This has left many frustrated, left waiting for their fields to dry out.

But besides the rain delay on planting, Dietz has bigger problems. Like many area farmers, his land was also damaged by recent flooding. Much of what he had planted was either killed or washed away by the rising Cedar River.

Dietz estimates he's taken a 25 percent loss.

"Where the water went down quite rapidly, well, the corn survived," he said. "But where there's water sitting, then it's done for."

That's affecting his bottom line, because once the seeds are submerged, the clock is ticking. They just can't survive underwater.

"Usually 48 hours," said Dietz of seed survival time. "it can only hold it's breath for so long."

Between planting delays and flooding, this has been a costly year for agriculture, and consumers could start to notice these costs at the grocery store.

Crop yield can't be accurately predicted until the combines roll in the fall. But Dietz is still wary.

"We're used to losing a bit once in a while," he said. "But not this much, this often."

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