Jul 02, 2019

Rain Delays

SWS managing editor Lauren Baltas discusses recent rain in the Midwest and how it's affecting farmer's crops 

Lauren Baltas headshot
Lauren Baltas, managing editor of SWS.

“It's bad.” 

My dad-a former farmer-lamented about the fields in our area. Typically, in Illinois, corn and soybeans are planted by May 15, at the latest, he said. This wasn’t an option, however, as the state experienced near constant rain for much of spring. According to Successful Farming, seeding opportunities were limited in the “Corn Belt” through the end of May. In parts of Illinois, crops were planted later, and the yield will be smaller. Without the usual corn harvest in the Midwest, prices for corn product-feed, ethanol, etc.-likely will skyrocket. 

Illinois isn’t alone in this battle. Across the Midwest, agriculture contended with rain and flooding as spring came to a close. In Iowa, some farmers feared they might not be able to plant this year if levees weren't repaired, reported CNN. Luckily, Iowa had some reprieve, as approximately 70% of crops were planted by the end of May, according to Successful Farming.

Delayed or impossible planting isn’t the only threat. Swaths of grain from last year’s harvest have been swept away or compromised by floodwaters. According to Reuters, even in storage bins, many farmers’ grain and feed have become saturated with storm water, rendering them useless for sale or feeding livestock. What’s more, some farmers will have difficulty delivering or receiving feed by truck, as many roads also are damaged from the flooding. 

An even greater loss for some farmers was livestock. Due to the rapidly rising waters, like in Nebraska, farmers couldn’t save many of their animals, which caused them to drown, reported CNN.

Insurance can help, if farmers have it, said CNN. Different policies can cover unplanted crops, machinery, buildings, etc. But insurance will not cover the harvest crops that the floodwaters claimed.

About the author

Lauren Baltas is managing editor of SWS. Baltas can be reached at [email protected]