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Farmers from Illinois abandon planting after flooding, instead throw a party



DEER GROVE, Ill. (Reuters) – The happy place was a little depressed.

Locusts are seen in farm fields as heavy rains have caused unprecedented delays in planting corn in the US in the spring near Sheffield, Illinois, USA, June 1

3, 2019. Dozens of maize farmers and those selling seed , chemicals and equipment gathered on Thursday at the Deer Grove, Illinois restaurant after heavy rains caused unprecedented planting delays this year and contributed to record floods in central states.

Storms have left millions of acres not used in the corn market at $ 51 billion, and have planted crops that were planted later with a greater risk of damage from a severe time in a vegetation. Together, problems create more pain in the agricultural sector, which has suffered years of low harvest prices and a trade war in the US and China, which has slowed down agricultural exports.

Estimates for even more rain have sent US futures for maize to a five-year high on Friday, although fewer farmers will benefit from rising prices due to crop interruptions.

James McCoon, a farmer from Mineral, Illinois, has failed to plant 85% of his planned maize acres and wants to sympathize with his fellow farmers by hosting the "Prevent Plant Party" in Happy Place. He invited them to exchange stories as they wrapped in fried chicken and a beer bar at Deer Grove, a village of about 50 people located 120 miles west of Chicago.

"Everyone is so low in landfills," McKun said.

McCun has returned unused maize seed to a local Pioneer dealer, part of Corteva Inc., after planting only 900 acres of 6,000 acres of maize it planned to place in the ground.

County County, Illinois, where MacKunne lives, has the fourth highest risk of all US districts for maize acres going unplanted this year because of rains, behind three districts in Nebraska, according to Gro Intelligence. Farmers across the country are expected to collect the smallest crop of corn for four years, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Last week, the agency downgraded its forecast for planting by 3.2% in May and the yield forecast by 5.7%.

Farmers believe that it is likely to have more cutbacks, as late crops can face damage from hot summer weather and autumn frosts.

"Early freezing will turn this world upside down," said Rock Kachik, a farmer from Profte Stay, Illinois, at the party. Planting problems mean that growers need fewer seeds and herbicides than expected, which is bad news for traders like Greg McKnight of Barman seed in Woodhull, Illinois.

McKnight, who attended the party, said the farmers returned the seeds of Golden Harvest maize made by Syngenta from ChemChina. They either seek restoration of herbicides or want Barman to store their chemicals in the warehouse until next year, he said.

McKnight also sells used 18-wheel trucks to farmers to pull grain. He believes that the financial uncertainty associated with harvest problems will reduce his sales by half this year.

"Since the whole rain started, it's like shutting off the lamp," McKnight said. "My phone has stopped ringing for sales."

The US government has announced a $ 16 billion aid package to help farmers suffer from reduced sales to China – but only those who manage to plant crops are eligible for payments.

U.S. President Donald Trump has also recently signed a $ 19 billion disaster relief contract, which included over $ 3 billion in crop loss costs, including those that were prevented from planting, according to the US Senator Charles Grassley's office Iowa.

Grasley said he has added an amendment to the bill to include grains stored on farms in a compensation program after the corn storage bins scattered during floods in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.

Floods that have slowed supply of seeds have contributed to a 28% drop in quarterly profits for Corteva's former DowDuPont.

GRAIN CUTTERS, DEALERS FOR EQUIPMENT

Reduced crops mean less business for grain elevators, such as the Tettens grain in Sterling, Illinois. Owner Dan Costrer told the party he could take 60% to 75% of the 10 million bushels he handles in a typical year.

"We are trying to figure out how to do it one year without interruption," Koster said. Some farmers who were unable to plant as much as they expected, took the unusual step of canceling the maize sale contracts after the harvest.

"It's a move of despair," said Bruce Hartley, who owns Hartley Grain in Tipton County, Indiana, and cancels contracts for customers flooded by rain. Planting issues are also bad news for equipment dealers such as Ryan Raab, A.C. McCartney, who sells machines from AGCO Corp and other manufacturers. Farmers will not need this gear so much because they have not planted so much, he said.

Mike Thacker, a farmer in Wollen, Illinois, planted about 1,600 acres of corn, or 60 percent of planned. He does not want to plant more, because the yields usually decrease later the planting of the crop.

Slide Show (5 Images)

Thacker said that the corn that started off the ground is shorter than normal. He was not even happy with one field. "That makes you feel terrible," said Taker at the party.

"This is our livelihood. We want to do a good job. We have not done a good job. "

A report by Tom Polanzaek in Dear Grove, IL; Editing by Caroline Stower and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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