Flood, Cold Spring Threatens U.S. Crop Output

Nearly 3.6 million acres of farmland in the Mississippi River Valley, including 40 per cent of U.S. rice area, have been affected by spring flooding.

The figure was larger than earlier reports of three million acres of flooded farmland and amounts to 1.1 per cent of land usually planted in the two dozen principal U.S. field crops.

Arkansas is the hardest hit with one million acres flooded, including 300,000 acres of rice and 120,000 acres of wheat, said the American Farm Bureau Federation, based on a survey of its state affiliates.

The federation listed flood totals as 650,000 acres in Tennessee, 600,000 acres in Mississippi, 570,000 in Missouri, 500,000 acres in Illinois and 280,000 acres in Louisiana.

The economic impact of the flood will be massive but some growers still may be able to plant a crop this year, said Bob Young, the organization’s chief economist.

“There is no doubt about it, the effect of the flooding on farmers and ranchers is being felt deeply across the south,” said Young.

Analysts say flooding and a rainy, cold spring may disrupt farmers’ plans to expand U.S. corn plantings by five per cent this year, to 92.2 million acres, and rebuild lean stockpiles. One estimate says corn plantings will total 89.5 million acres and soybean planting would reach 75.1 million acres, compared to the 76.6 million acres estimated by USDA based on a survey of growers in March.

Doubts about the size of the U.S. corn crop are driving up futures prices. The next USDA crop survey comes out on June 30.

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