Heavy rains impeding downstate farmers

June 17, 2008 5:17:12 PM PDT
The heavy rainfall last month is causing problems for many farmers. The weather caused delays in planting. And standing water has ruined many other crops.

Jim Rafferty was out planting soy beans Tuesday. He's already planted this field but persistent rains this spring drowned some of his crop.

"About every third day just before we would dry out, it would rain again, put us out for another three or four days," Rafferty said.

He farms roughly 1,400 acres - the majority of it corn - in McLean County. Last year's harvest produced nearly 200 bushels of corn per acre. But this year, the numbers will be off.

"Some of the corn that I had to replant like I did yesterday, that's going to struggle to make 120 or 130," Rafferty said.

Just over 40 percent of the nation's corn crop is rated at good to very poor. That means lower yields and that means higher prices.

"When the price of corn goes up, the price of meat goes up because cattle are primarily fed on corn. Also the price of milk goes up because cows are fed corn as well," said Vic Lespinasse, commodity trader.

The price of corn has gone up more than 80 percent in the last 12 months, and that will translate into the higher costs for the myriad of grocery store products influenced by corn. Rafferty doesn't mind getting paid for his corn, but he's a consumer too and figures that fuel and food costs are not going to go back down.

"The world's been paying it for a while anyway. I guess it's time for us to catch up, not that I like it," said Rafferty.

For now, the job is to get the beans back in as best as possible and keep rooting for the sun to shine.


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