American farmers had been planning the biggest corn planting since World War II this spring, but they're being thwarted by a seed shortage. Drought conditions in the Midwest and Great Plains last year have caused what dealers in the corn belt say is the biggest shortage of top-quality seeds they've ever seen, the Wall Street Journal finds. Corn prices hit a record $8 a bushel last spring, and commodities brokers say another disappointing crop this year could send prices as high as $10.
Big seed companies like Monsanto and DuPont downplayed the shortage, saying all it means is that some farmers may not be able to get their first seed choice. Suppliers may turn to South America for extra seed, but drought conditions have hurt the seed corn crop there as well.