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Ohio Corn Could Be Piled High

Corn harvest
United Soybean Board
Flickr/Creative Commons

The Midwestern corn harvest is just getting underway, and the region is predicting record corn crops. That means depressed prices for producers—and possibly, trouble with getting that corn where it needs to go.

USDA’s monthly forecast has the coming harvest at 14.4 billion bushels, which will be a record amount if it comes to fruition. The prediction is already driving prices down and worrying some farmers. Storage as well as train and truck transportation could end up at capacity.

“If we get full and have to shut down, the producers just have to stop their farm storage,” says Kim Holsapple, who runs a grain elevator and shipping company in Effingham, Illinois. He says if trains get completely booked, that would have a ripple effect. “Most [farms] have some farm storage at home but not to handle the size of crop that we got this year.”

Elevators from Ohio to the Dakotas are already arranging to store extra corn in piles on the ground. And it could be more than corn: soybeans are also projected to have a record yield after great growing conditions across a lot of the Midwest.

The goods get shipped around the country for feed, food and ethanol, but a lot of trains are busy shipping a higher-value commodity: oil from North Dakota.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.