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Derecho Wipes Out 9 Percent of Iowa Corn Crop, Kills Expectations of Record Harvest

A recent windstorm known as a derecho, or what Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds called “basically a 40-mile-wide tornado”, destroyed 9 percent of the corn crop in the top producing state in the U.S., eliminating expectations for a national record harvest this season.

The USDA states that the storm, which brought sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, destroyed 550,000 acres on August 10, leading to new forecasts for Iowa’s corn harvest to come in at 2.438 billion bushels.

Likewise, forecasts for national corn output this year have been lowered to 14.9 billion bushels - the second largest harvest on record, following a harvest of 15.148 billion bushels in 2016. At this lower output, corn prices are now forecast to be $3.50 per bushel, according to the USDA - up from the previously expected $3.10 per bushel when records were expected to be broken.

Despite this setback for U.S. corn production, global corn output is expected to hit a record for the 2020/21 season at 1.162 billion tons, according to the latest WASDE report from the USDA. Brazil is expected to produce a record 110 million tons, allowing the country to expand exports to 39 million tons - five tons over 2019/20. Comparatively, the U.S. is expected to export 59 million tons - an increase of more than 14 million tons over last year.

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