Drought-Hit US Crops Worse Than Feared, Squeeze Looms
The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century has battered the corn and soybean crops with larger losses than expected, causing domestic stockpiles to shrivel to near bare-bones levels, government data showed on Friday.
In the most authoritative statement yet on the withered U.S. crops, the Agriculture Department, based on its first samples this season from parched, scorched fields, estimated the corn harvest would drop 13 percent from last year.
With production at just 10.8 billion bushels, the yield would be the lowest since 1995.
It would be the third disappointing crop in a row for the world’s largest corn grower and main agricultural exporter.
The prospect intensified fears the world is headed for a repeat of the 2008 food price crisis. World food prices surged 6 percent in July, a U.N. agency said.