Drought hits maize and wheat production hard
– It’s a tough year for American farmers – severe drought has hit much of the country and crops planted this spring are failing. The Agriculture Ministry has now lowered its forecast for 2021 production and stocks of corn, wheat and soybeans are expected to fall to their lowest levels in nearly a decade, the Wall Street newspaper reports. With extreme drought conditions in states like Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, about 63% of the spring wheat crop is classified as bad or very bad, up from 6% last year, according to the USDA. Wheat and corn prices have risen about 11% so far this year and analysts expect prices to continue rising if the hot, dry weather persists.
A lack of production means that many farmers were unable to take advantage of the crop price hikes earlier this year – and even those who did are struggling to cope with soaring inflation, Bloomberg reports. Farmers say fertilizer costs have nearly doubled in the past 12 months. And the United States isn’t the only place where crops wither, the Newspaper reports. The drought has caused a sharp drop in crop forecasts for wheat in Russia and maize in Brazil. In the western United States, where the heat has caused massive forest fires as well as crop failures, meteorologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned last week that drought conditions are expected to persist through late fall, reports the New York Times. (Read more drought stories.)