U.S. drought causes concern domestically and abroad

The lack of rain and the prevalence of high temperatures across the U.S. heartland have people worried worldwide.

The reason is one near and dear to everyone’s hearts: food, specifically corn. Drought conditions in the U.S., as the plants head into a critical stage of growth, may mean severe repercussions for this year’s corn harvest, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

This year’s corn acreage is the largest ever. The U.S. is the largest exporter of corn and wheat in the world.

There are some scary figures involved — corn stockpiles have dropped 48 percent in the time between March and June, the largest decline since 1996. The amount of corn considered top quality stands only at 48 percent, whereas last year at this time it was 69 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Since mid-June, corn prices have jumped 33 percent, along with wheat at 23 percent and soybeans at 13 percent, fueling concerns about meeting the demand for commodities such as corn and wheat.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, issued July 3, drought affected 56 percent of the U.S. Although the heat wave has broken in some areas, a lack of precipitation still remains a serious threat.

During the heat wave, 1,067 temperature records either were set or broken, according to the Denver Post.

Hot, dry weather along with heat stress also can lead to the growth of Aspergillus flavus or A. parasiticus, which produce aflatoxin, a known carcinogenic mycotoxin, of particular concern in corn.

To read the full Bloomberg article, click here.

To read the full Denver Post article, click here.

To watch Neogen’s Weekly Mycotoxin report, click here.

 

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