Ingredients R&D / Ingredients

Nervous farmers scramble for corn seed after the drought

April 29, 2013

Ohio farmer Rob Joslin isn’t taking chances with his corn seed, though seed suppliers assure that there is enough seed supply available after this summer's devastating drought. Joslin grows corn and soybeans in western Ohio. He began buying seed in August, months earlier than usual, to lock in the best-yielding varieties. Farmers are "concerned about getting their seed varieties, especially corn," says Joslin. "It may not be there come Dec. 1."

Emerging from one of the worst droughts in more than half a century, U.S. farmers are scrambling to get the best corn seed they can this year to ensure they plant a bumper crop next spring. Their success could be pivotal in keeping food prices stable across the globe.

Two of the nation's leading seed companies saw the risk of a shortage coming and boosted seed imports by up to 20% to guarantee supplies. Planning to plant a massive number of acres of corn for a second year, farmers want to avoid last year's struggles to find some top-performing varieties that became scarce after the bad weather reduced production. The drought cut harvests again this year, which account for one-third of global corn exports, and lifted corn prices to record highs, squeezing livestock producers who use the crop for feed and companies that produce ethanol.

At the height of the price surge this summer, fears surfaced of a devastating food crisis like that in 2007/2008 when riots broke out in some countries and the ranks of the chronically hungry ballooned by 75 million, according to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization data. However, seed supplies are sufficient this year, say sellers like DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto, which dominate the $12-billion agricultural seed business in the U.S. Companies say expanded corn plantings compensated for yields that were down 25% or more, and they cite timely rains in certain areas for helping avoid severe crop losses.


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Magazine 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Blue Diamond Almonds Facility

Blue Diamond Almond’s new  processing facility in Turlock, CA.

11/7/13 2:00 pm EST

Food Plant of the Future: The Future of Wastewater Management

Available On-Demand Effective management of wastewater is becoming increasingly critical to food and beverage processors as the cost for incoming water increases...

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Magazine

Cover Image

2014 August

This month's publication of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery takes a special look at Blue Diamond's growers and advanced technology, as well as a tour through the Blue Diamond production plant in Turlock, CA.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

School Lunches

Millions of children will soon be returning to school, lunchboxes in hand. What was your favorite lunchbox treat when you were a kid?
View Results Poll Archive


Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis

Effects of Organic Production on Food Quality is the first comprehensive book on how organic production methods influence the safety and quality of foods, based on an unbiased assessment of the latest scientific findings.  The title is a 'must-have' for everyone working within the food industry.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

The Weekly Mix

Operations Weekly Logo

Written by Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery editors, our Operations Weekly weekly enewsletter provides bakers and snack food manufacturers with up-to-the-minute news, ideas and industry trends.

Sign up today!


Facebook IconTwitter IconYoutube IconLinkedIn Icon