One result has been flooded acres that have drowned corn and soybean plants, stunted their growth or prevented them from being planted at all. With fields, dusty and dry one moment, muddy and saturated the next, farmers face a familiar fear — that their crops will not make it.

“This is the worst spring I can remember in my 30 years farming,” said Rob Korff, who plants 3,500 acres of corn and soybeans here in northwestern Missouri. Farmers are hoping that lawmakers will maintain taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance and other support programs that will help them get through disasters like floods and drought.

Another year of mediocre crop yields could well trickle down to consumers, though agriculture experts insist that it is too early to rule out a robust harvest of corn and soybeans for this year.
“If there’s a shortage of corn and soybeans, and feed costs are higher,” said Bill Northey, the Iowa agriculture secretary, “there’s certainly a possibility that well down the road — six months or a year after that harvest — that you end up seeing higher meat prices than you would have if you’d had a full supply.”

Still, last year’s poor production had only a minor effect on food prices, analysts say, and even with the early planting problems, they expect better yields this year.

Since the beginning of the year, parts of the Mississippi River basin, from eastern Minnesota down through Illinois and Missouri, have received up to three times their normal precipitation. Late planting could stunt the growth of crops, decreasing production once harvest rolls around.

On May 12, 28 percent of the nation’s corn crop had been planted, compared with 85 percent on the same day last year. As of the United States Department of Agriculture’s latest report, released last week, 91 percent of corn had been planted by June 2, compared with 100 percent a year earlier.
This year, the Agriculture Department had estimated that 97.3 million acres of corn, the most since 1936, would be planted, and that a record 14.14 billion bushels would result from them.

Now, there is concern that “not as much corn was planted as had been indicated,” Joseph W. Glauber, the department’s chief economist, wrote in an e-mail, and “that yields will be adversely affected because plantings were less.”

Mr. Korff, 44, planted all his corn in the middle of May, about a month later than usual, and he has yet to plant any of his soybeans because there has not been a long enough break in the weather, he said. This area about an hour east of Kansas City has already gotten 23.6 inches of rain this year, four inches shy of the total for all of last year.

By this time, three weeks after planting, Mr. Korff said, his corn should be waist high. A narrow stream of water slices through it. “It doesn’t have the appearance I like to see,” Mr. Korff said.
But on an optimistic note, he said all it would take would be about a week of temperatures in the 80s or 90s and the corn could shoot up. The rain has benefited some farm operations, however.

“This has been a great spring for cattlemen — just absolutely perfect,” said Kyle Kirby, who has a herd of 2,500 cattle in Liberal, Mo., which has had 29.13 inches of precipitation this year, about a foot more than in the same period last year.

The rain has replenished the pasture grass that cattle eat and has filled the ponds and streams where they drink.

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