Heavy Rains and Cold in Corn Belt Wash Away Obama/London Happy Talk About Bumper Harvest
June 8, 2013 • 8:00AM

Obama Administration spokesmen, from February to May, presented rosy official forecasts of how there would be a record acreage of corn planted in 2013, good yields, and a re-filling of empty bins. Based on what? Nothing. They mouthed the London script of lying that "things are great," when it's just the opposite. Livestock operations are socked by corn and feed shortages; scarce corn is going for biofuels; food disappears; people don't eat.

Perfect weather could come to pass, of course, and bring about a big 2013 harvest. But that would be a miracle, not a food policy.

Already, in the last two weeks, a deluge of rain, along with cold temperatures, hit the heart of the Corn Belt. Sheet erosion, soil saturation, ponding was widespread. Reality washed away the b.s. from Obama's Agriculture Department.

Crop erosion from water. Credit: USDA

On June 3, the Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and others made a helicopter tour of the rain-soaked corn counties to view the extent of the damage. Their grim evaluations were carried in the June 4 DesMoines Register, "Late Planting = Shaky Yield Forecast; The State's Farmers Are Still Struggling To Get in the Fields".

While the pelting rains and flooding ended the "agronomic drought" of dried-out soils, the problem now is the impact of cool weather and soaked fields. "The bad news is, we are continuing into the growing season extremely cool. We have a crop that was planted late and is lagging behind," said Dave Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau economist. Late planting means that there can be pollination problems in high Summer, and potential damage, if the plants aren't fully developed before frost hits come Fall.

More than half of Iowa's corn was planted after May 15—the date considered as the deadline for ideal crop potential. Then cold weather set in. "This will probably be the second-latest average planting date in the last 25 years, maybe 40," Miller said.

The corn area planted nationwide, instead of what the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected as a record 97 million acres, will be more like 90 million, he estimated.

The harvest volume, instead of what the USDA projected as a bumper 14.3 million bushel corn crop, will be more like 12.7 million bushels, if everything goes right.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey noted that it was so wet, that 2 million acres of the state's usual 14 million acres of corn weren't planted as of June 1; this is an area equal to the entire state corn production of North Dakota or Texas.