SC corn growers benefit from Midwest drought

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The Midwest drought that has parched the nation’s corn crop is good news for growers in South Carolina.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported that growers are expecting a good corn crop with prices expected to reach near record highs.

“Corn is golden this year,” said Kyle Daniel, director of Georgetown County’s Farm Service Agency. As the Midwest goes through its worst drought in 60 years, the U.S. Agriculture Department says the price of corn has risen from $5 a bushel in May to $8 a bushel this week.

Experts say the warm weather in February and March allowed the growers to plant early in South Carolina. Then Tropical Storm Beryl came at just the right time in late May as the corn crop was filling out.

The short supply and high demand for corn will drive up prices not only for corn eaten by consumers, but for things such as ethanol and animal feed, which in turn will raise prices for beef, poultry and eggs.

“Given that almost half of the corn grown in the world comes from what is considered the bread basket of the world, supplies are short and prospects of future supplies are dismal,” Daniel said. “This has generated a very strong demand for corn
resulting in some of the highest corn prices in U.S. history.”

Only farmers who planted earlier who are likely to benefit. Those who planted later are struggling to keep their crops because of the heat this summer.

“The corn crop has made a decent crop, it’s not a failure like last year when we did not have any corn in the county,” said Vicki Jordan, Horry County’s Farm Serve Agency director.

Some farmers wish they had planted more corn this year.

Pleasant Hill Farmer Chad Burrows planted 40 acres of corn as compared with 500 acres of cotton.

“The last three years I didn’t make any corn,” Burrows said. “I wish we had planted a lot more corn right now. I would rather have corn than cotton this year.”

He said while cotton did well last year, it has struggled this season although “the last two weeks it has picked up a bit to save it.”


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