The heavy rains that caused flooding across portions of Missouri this spring have also led to improved soil conditions for crops grown in the Show-Me State.
The exceptionally-wet spring did cause delays in getting corn, cotton and soybeans in the ground. But Bob Garino, Missouri Statistician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) state office in Columbia, says conditions are much better than a year ago when 2012's drought and heat wave began to take hold.
Standing outside the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-Op in Little Falls, Minn., there's not a lot going on. The pungent smell of fermentation that typically hangs in the air here is absent. And trucks piled high with corn are nowhere to be seen.
They're idled in part because of high corn prices. And it's unclear when that will change.
"Most of the industry is just breaking even in terms of profitability or actually running at slightly negative margins," says Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis at the Renewable Fuels Association.
A University of Missouri veterinary professor says farmers need to be careful when feeding drought-damaged corn to their livestock.
Tom Evans is an associate professor of veterinary pathobiology at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine. He says nitrate levels can accumulate in drought-stressed corn and pose a risk to animal health.
Many farmers across the Midwest are abandoning ruined corn crops and salvaging what they can to feed to their animals, especially cattle.
The U.S. Agriculture Department is predicting what could be the lowest average corn yield in more than 15 years as the worst drought in decades scorches major farm states.
Garry Niemeyer farms 1,200 acres of corn and 800 acres of soybeans near Auburn, Ill. He says he's "totally stunned" to have corn with green stalks and leaves after going through weeks of 105-degree temperatures.
Dry conditions are expected to get worse in the coming days, and it will take a whole lot more than scattered thunderstorms to break the drought.
“We’re way, way, way below normal in rainfall,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Fred Glass said. “Most of the area is in severe drought conditions, it’s going to quite a bit of rain to make that up, probably in many areas 8-12 inches, and in some areas in excess of 12 inches.”
DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred International is suing Monsanto for allegedly violating DuPont patents related to corn seed production.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court, the Iowa-based seed company accuses Monsanto of using a patented technique developed by DuPont to enhance corn seed germination. The technique involves defoliating the corn plants with herbicides between pollination and harvest.
DuPont alleges that Monsanto has been using this defoliation technique at its research site in Constantine, Michigan.