The USDA says that approximately 60 percent of all corn in the country is experiencing "moderate to extreme" drought conditions. If this drought does not end soon, the losses are going to be mind blowing. Already, it is estimated that farmers and ranchers have suffered billions of dollars in damage.
How much worse can things get?
The whole of Iowa was classified as abnormally dry as of July 10 and 12.7 percent of the top corn and soybean producing state was in severe drought, up from 0.8 percent the prior week.Harder-hit Illinois, the No. 2 corn and soy state, was 66.28 percent under severe drought or worse, up from 40 percent the previous week.
Severe to exceptional drought covered 80.15 percent of Indiana, versus 68.84 percent the prior week. Conditions in Missouri also deteriorated, with 82.54 percent of the state in severe drought or worse, compared with 78.83 percent the week before.
Many farmers that had been desperately hoping for rain are now becoming resigned to the fact that their crops are not going to make it. The following is from an article in the New York Times:
"Corn is anywhere from knee-high to waist-high," Gonzalee Martin, agriculture and natural resources educator with Purdue University’s Allen County extension office, told The News-Sentinel. "Much of it has already tasseled with no ears at all. Much of it’s going to be completely lost"
Now, as punishing drought grips the Midwest, Villwock, 61, walks his hard-hit 4,000 acres in southwest Indiana in utter dismay.Where there should have been tall, dark green, leafy plants, there now stand corn stalks that are waist high or, at best, chest high. They are pale in color and spindly. Fragile. Tired.Pull back an ear's husk and you find no kernels, he says. With temperatures rising above 95 degrees, the pollen starts to die."It's emotionally draining," he said. "The crop got out of the ground very well. We were so optimistic. But maybe a few of us were counting our eggs before they were hatched."
AccuWeather.com agricultural meteorologists are concerned that new and frequent waves of near-100-degree temperatures and stingy rainfall will further stress crops over Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska into mid-August.
Evaporation rates are very high into the first part of August. Soaking rain on a regular basis instead of a brief downpour is needed to be of benefit beyond a couple of days.Turning things around in the Midwest as a whole will be a difficult task as dry ground tends to bring higher daytime temperatures, which in turn raises evaporation rates and so on.
Since 75% of grocery store products use corn as a key ingredient, expect food prices to skyrocket. Corn is also a staple in many fast foods. Corn is in ethanol and the main food source or chickens.In addition to this, maize is in many things that aren't obvious like adhesives, aluminum, aspirin, clothing starch, cosmetics, cough syrup, dry cell batteries, envelopes, fiberglass insulation, gelatin capsules, ink, insecticides, paint, penicillin, powders, rugs and carpets, stamps, talcum, toothpaste, wallpaper, and vitamins. That's just for starters.This is a huge heads up for you to purchase corn-using products NOW before these conditions reflect in grocery goods. It will be a narrow window of opportunity.
At this point, approximately 50 percent of America's pastures and ranges are in "poor" or "very poor" condition.
Rauhn Panting, with the University of Idaho, who works with ranchers and farmers, says, "We're going to run out of grass. It's going to be scary." Ranchers are being advised to vacate grazing lands, weeks and even months before when they usually have to leave.Left with only two choices, feed or sell, many are opting to sell their cattle. The Torrington Stock Market in Wyoming, has recorded that 36,000 cattle were sold in May and June of this year. The usual average for these months is 5,500. Small ranchers, with 30-50 cow/calf pairs, are being hit the hardest.
Millions of field mice are overrunning the central German states of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, much to the concern of local farmers. The rodents are devastating food crops, cutting yields by up to 50 percent. Getting birds of prey to hunt the critters didn't help, and now farmers want to be allowed to use a banned rat poison.