An erudite comment piece in the New Yorker (23 July) explained the complications of corn sex before going on to comment  ‘It is now corn-sex season across the Midwest, and everything is not going well.’ The problem is two-fold; consistently high temperatures, and the drought. Over half of America’s counties are now officially experiencing a natural disaster. We have ourselves experienced those high temperatures and sometimes, as we gazed out of our Amtrak trains, we have seen signs of the drought (stunted crops, low water levels, dried mud). The combination of water shortages and increased fire risks is in itself a potential disaster but the comment pieces in the newspapers are concentrating more on those corn crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been steadily revising down forecasts for this year’s crop. As a result, corn prices have been steadily rising and since a lot of corn is used to feed livestock, the prices of dairy products and beef are also likely to rise (the latter were already on the rise after a devastating drought in Texas last year). But the commentariat are looking further. A lot of grain is also used to produce ethanol and there may well come a moment when government will have to consider its priorities. And then there will almost certainly be knock-on effects on world food prices which, it is being predicted, means bad news for the poor and the hungry but also for inflation. Not good. Not good at all. Last but not least, the comment pages are asking, is this a consequence of climate change and, if so, what, if anything should be done about it?