I think it is finally time to talk about this lack of rain we are having in the Midwest. It is a big deal, something that even homeowners are noticing as their lawns have finally died off.
To farmers it’s a bit more serious that a dead lawn. We depend on our crops for our income in some way. Some farmers sell their crops right out of the field. Some farmers, like us, depend on a good chunk of our corn crop for our cattle feed.
A few weeks ago I visited my home state of Indiana and I couldn’t believe the corn crop. As my Dad said “It almost looks like a completely new variety of corn”. And he is absolutely right.
When corn gets stressed it rolls it’s leaves up. The plant does this to prevent transpiration, which is plant moisture loss. Nearly every field I saw in Indiana had their leaves tightly rolled up. I now wish I had taken a picture.
Here in South Dakota it seems like we are slowly following behind them. Our leaves aren’t tightly rolled up yet, but we are starting to show signs of plants needing water. I have seen some fields, however, that are already starting to show tighter leaves.
Ranchers in Western SD have started selling off their cattle as the drought worsens. They have to do this because the means to feed them are getting slimmer and slimmer with some pastures drying up and hay fields running low.
When corn don’t have enough water to grow it becomes stunted and plants will complete their process much quicker. Corn will begin to tassle and eventually start to turn brown before the plant even has a chance to produce any corn.
What does this mean for the average consumer?
Expect to see grocery store prices rise. The loss of a year of crops could prove the loss of billions to farmers across the Midwest.