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Corn Production Shocks in 2012 and Beyond: Implications for Food Price Volatility

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Document pages: 26 pages

Abstract: Corn prices increased sharply in the summer of 2012 due to expected production shortfalls in the United States, which produces roughly 40 of the world s corn. A heat wave in July adversely affected corn production. We extend earlier statistical models of county-level corn yields in the Eastern United States by allowing the effect of various weather measures to vary in a flexible manner over the growing season: Extreme heat is especially harmful around a third into the growing season. This is the time when the 2012 heat wave hit the Corn Belt. Our model predicts 2012 corn yields will be 23 below trend. While extreme heat was significantly above normal, climate change scenarios suggest that the 2012 outcomes will soon be the new normal.

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