More info here:
With May in the books, another third of the 2019 U.S. corn crop has yet to be planted, according to the latest USDA crop progress report, out Monday afternoon.
“Today’s update from USDA came in on the lower side of estimates for corn and soybean planting, keeping both crops under the gun,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “Only Texas was ahead of normal for corn planting, though growers in the western Corn Belt made better progress.”
Corn progress reached 67% as of June 2, up from 58% a week ago but still far behind 2018’s pace of 96% and the five-year average of 96%. Analysts expected a more robust pace of 71%, although trade guesses ranged between 68% and 76%. Five of the top 18 production states still haven’t reached the halfway mark, including Illinois (45%), Indiana (31%), Michigan (42%), North Dakota (33%) and South Dakota (44%).
This strikes me as a really big deal, and while I am one to freak out about things like this, I should note that I am not seeing people who know what they are talking about lose their shit, so maybe I shouldn’t. My concerns are beyond a potential corn shortage, how many farmers will go under because they can’t plant alternate crops like soybeans? Cheeto Benito’s trade war wiped out their market, and that ain’t ever coming back. Just the other day China halted big purchases, and last year Brazil and others (including Russia, which I am sure is just a coincidence) eagerly stepped in and filled the void.
So there is that problem. On top of that, I don’t think people fully appreciate just how fundamental the corn crop to so much of our manufacturing and economy. Beyond the obvious foodstuffs, corn is also a key component in everything from cattle feed to pet food to ethanol for cars to vinegar and on and on and on. Almost every product will be more expensive- including beverages, because in response to the US Sugar program, which places tariffs and sets prices for sugar producers, beverages are made from… high fructose corn syrup. It also factors in to a wide number of industrial products, like the following:
* Industrial products — Soaps, paints, corks, linoleum, polish, adhesives, rubber substitutes, wallboard, dry-cell batteries, textile finishings, cosmetic powders, candles, dyes, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, insulation, wallpaper and other starch products.
* Fermentation products and byproducts — industrial alcohols, fuel ethanol, recyclable plastics, industrial enzymes, fuel octane enhancers, fuel oxygenates and solvents.
Again, virtually every stage of manufacturing will be impacted. This, with Trump’s tariffs with Mexico already jacking up prices for consumers and economists predicting a recession in the near term, and it is scary. Making it even scarier is that this isn’t going to be a one-off. Climate change isn’t going to just stop. The flooding is going to become more and more commonplace- you’d think people would notice that they are having 100 year floods every year, but apparently not.
So again, the whole thing has me concerned. Not that there is any realistic chance we’ll fucking do anything about it. The idiots in those states will still keep electing wingnuts, and they’ll respond by transferring tax dollars from blue states to distressed farmers in the moocher red states (and Trump’s wealthy buddies), and talk about salt of the earth real Muricans and evil liberal coastal elites.