Parts of the Midwest got a reprieve from the drought this week, according to the latest US Drought Monitor report released on Thursday. The report found that last weekend’s cold front brought up to five inches of rain to southeastern Missouri, eastern Illinois and central Indiana.
The sub-par corn harvest of 2012 is coming in early, after the worst growing conditions in more than 2 decades.
“We’ve been really dry all summer," farmer Bill Simmons says. "I talked to an older gentleman some time ago that said he had taken 47 crops off of his farm and this was about the worst that he’d ever seen it."
Simmons is combining 13-hundred acres of corn on the Clan Farm outside Atlantic, Iowa. Multiple varieties were planted, but one field turned out to be especially interesting: a 300-acre section devoted to AQUAmax, a new drought-resistant product from DuPont Pioneer.
Heavy rains from Hurricane Isaac provided relief to some – but not all – farmers and ranchers in the drought-stricken Midwest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report, which came out on Thursday.
Currently, the USDA expects the prices of beef, pork, poultry and dairy to shoot up five percent next year. You can blame the drought for a lot of that increase as this summer a lot of small livestock producers are struggling just to stay in business.
A version of this story ran on KBIA's Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.
As part of a new project called “Quality Beef by the Numbers,” the University of Missouri is hoping to get more cow-calf operators in Missouri and neighboring states to produce higher-quality beef from their herds. The university says the move, announced in Columbia, Mo., last week, will make ranchers more money.
The U.S. corn harvest continues ahead of schedule with some states nearly half-finished at a time when they usually are just getting started.
The USDA said Tuesday in its weekly crop update that little has changed in the condition of drought-damaged corn and soybeans. That's because the plants are too far along for recent rain to make a difference.
Corn was planted several weeks earlier this year and matured more quickly in the summer heat, allowing farmers to start harvesting early.