It seems that those shrivelled corn fields that I wrote about in this post are going to have a big and potentially alarming effect on world food prices this autumn. This has been the worst drought the US has experienced for at least fifty years and an estimated one sixth of the country’s corn crop has been lost over the past month. The most striking statistic I have read is that US corn farmers have abandoned fields greater in combined area than Belgium and Luxembourg together. In addition to the knock-on effect on world food prices, the drought is going to open up another difficult issue for the US presidential candidates. US corn is mostly used for animal feed and for the production of ethanol (biofuel). Should government now step in and direct production away from biofuel? Already, the UN and the G-20 have started to mobilise. The good news is that the production of other staple crops elsewhere in the world has held up well but it is easy to see how international concern about food prices could become a red hot domestic political football.