A massive storm swept from Colorado into the Midwest, bringing hurricane-strength winds and blizzard conditions to the western half of the Corn Belt. As the storm moved east, the snow shifted to rain, bringing floods as water overwhelmed frozen fields and rivers.
While this extreme weather affects everyone in the area, farmers see some of the worst effects. Blizzard conditions and flooding can kill cattle and hogs, and the water-soaked fields may persist for weeks, preventing Midwestern farmers from being able to plant a timely spring crop. Planting delays can lead to lower crop yields or even force farmers to give up planting some fields, which could cut into U.S. corn production this year.
For now, there is still hope that farmers will get into their fields next month to begin planting, but ongoing cold and wet weather could lead to major problems which could boost prices. As of midday Friday, this fall’s corn crop, represented by December futures contracts, was worth $3.95 per bushel.