Corn harvest in Midwest threatened by drought, sweltering heat

Corn grows in a field near Roscoe, Ill.
Scott Olson

Corn stocks are in serious trouble in the Midwestern United States as summer temperatures soar and rainfall fails to meet farmers expectations. With less corn production in the world's highest-production growing areas, world food prices are expected to soar alongside the thermometer this summer. 

An incredibly warm winter and spring and months without much in the way of serious rainfall could spell trouble for Midwestern farmers. Relentless heat has thrown carefully calculated growing plans into disarray, and has sucked moisture from the earth that young plants need. 

According to the New York Times, July is make-or-break time for Iowa corn crops. It is this time when the plants undergo the pollination process. Without pollination, there's no corn-on-the-cob-and logically, no Cooler Ranch Doritos, corn-dogs or corn syrup sweeteners, either. 

Midwestern economies are at stake as the drought drags on through the summer months: Iowa, the biggest producer of corn in the US, pumped over $20 billion in cash into its economy thanks to the ever-popular carbohydrate. Before the arrival of poor growing weather, US farmers planted 96.4 million acres of corn - the most in 75 years, according to Business Insider. 

Read More: USA drought graphs for weather nerds 

European wheat futures are poised for gains, added the Wall Street Journal - although projected production losses in Russia may prove an additional stressor on world food prices. 

Midwestern farmers may not lose their financial shirts from this year's drought conditions, as a huge planting and inflated prices provide growers with some measure of security. 

Depleted corn stocks are also a serious drain on world wallets: the searing heat in the Midwest and accompanying dips in corn production are jacking up world food prices, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Raw meat, cereal, fast-food and soda are all heavily reliant on corn, as are many other pillars of the American diet, and prices for these eternally popular commodities are expected to rise if current conditions hold. Americans eat so much corn that a 2007 CNN report found 69 percent of the carbon in an average American's body derives from it.