Views on commodities and energy
How Many U.S. Acres Will Be Lost To Floods?
Agronomists, government officials, insurance adjusters, grain analysts, traders … the list goes on and on … are asking: How do we get a handle on how many crop acres are underwater in the U.S. Midwest after the extensive flooding.
The truth is nobody knows and no one is going to know the extent of the damage for a long time.
“The key word is uncertainty. We’re getting close to the end of time to replant crops but that leaves a lot of unknowns — how severe is the crop damage in those areas that survived, how stunted are they going to be, what’s the true effect going to be on yield and that depends on the rest of the summer,” said Bob Nielsen, extension agronomist with Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.
“It’s a very confusing mess.”
Iowa, the No. 1 row crop state, was the hardest hit as many rivers swelled beyond their banks. Cedar River at Cedar Rapids rose to record levels over the weekend. In the state’s capital city of Des Moines, which is surrounded by corn and soybean fields, a levee holding back rising flood waters broke and swamped the city. It is the worst flooding the city has seen in 15 years.
Now all the attention is on the Mississippi River, the main shipping artery for grains to Gulf export terminals, waiting to see how many levees break and the resulting damage.
The swollen Mississippi River has flowed over 23 levees in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois with more at risk with another 25 at risk — an area protecting hundreds of thousands of crop acres, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
USDA’s Iowa state crop report issued late Monday gave the world a hint on the damage so far — reporting that 9 percent of Iowa’s corn acres were flooded and 8 percent of the soybean crop was flooded.
That equates to 1.19 million corn acres and 784,000 soybean acres based on USDA’s March planting intentions report.
That’s just for Iowa. Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana, three other top five corn states, have also had floods, along with Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri and Kansas.
Many hope that the June 30 planted acreage report will give a better clue of the damage. But the bottom line: those farmer surveys were conducted during the first two weeks of June before much of the flooding and levee breaks this week.
The director for USDA’s Illinois Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) office told Reuters this week that said the government is planning a special acreage survey taking into account of the flooding, with results likely published in July.
The details of the survey are sketchy right now but more details are expected this week.