Midwest Flooding to Impact Corn Prices, Horse Feed

Just when horse owners became resigned to escalating corn prices due to ethanol demand, Midwest corn fields were swamped by floodwaters the Mississippi River's banks just couldn't contain.

Now with acres of corn fields deluged, growers and consumers are wondering if the corn season can be salvaged enough to keep corn prices from growing out of control.

flooded iowa cornfield

Corn falls into the Raccoon River as the stream bank erodes after flooding in June 2008.

"We've already lost 30,000 acres of corn, and I don‘t think the farmers will be able to replant," said Julie Shepard, spokesperson for Adams County, Ill. "It's getting too late for that."

According to Darrel Good, agricultural economist for the University of Illinois Champagne Urbana Extension Service, as many as 3 million acres of corn may have been lost to flooding. But even before river waters rose, corn producers fought wet weather to get crops planted on time.

"Then the corn crop was slow to develop," he said. "So the corn crop may be less by about 1 billion bushels."

But the news is not all bad.

"There is corn growing in Illinois and in Nebraska and other places that haven't been affected by the floods," said Bill Horton, equine consultant for Nutrena Feed and a former Kansas farmer. "So I don't think we need to get too excited about corn prices rising out of control."

In fact, prices might even fall from recent highs of $7.50 per bushel thanks to dryer summer weather predictions and replanting activity.

"It all depends on yield," said Good, "But I think we've already seen prices top out."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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