America bakes in the hottest year since records began

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The effects of the heatwave sweeping America will be felt across the world. Photo: ITV News

You can see something's wrong. Hear something's wrong. Even smell it.

The corn stalks are yellow and wilting. Their leaves, dried to a crisp, rustle in the hot wind. The sweltering heat has baked the corn in its husk, actually cooked it, so the sweet smell wafts across the arid ground.

America's corn crop is dying in the worst heatwave anyone can remember.

Corn stalks across America have been killed by the heatwave sweeping the country. Credit: ITV News

It's not just the record temperatures that have hit 100 degrees Farenheit from coast to coast.

It's the combination of heat and drought. In half of America's states there has been little or no rain for months. July is on course to be the hottest month ever. And this year is the hottest since records began in the nineteenth century.

The result of all this? The biggest natural disaster area in American history.

I walked with Calvin Haile through some of his three thousand acre farm. "It's dead",he told me. "Not even rain today will revive this corn, it's gone." Yet he still has to spend four weeks harvesting the dead corn. A waste of time. A waste of money.

Ranchers are also suffering. Ten miles from Calvin's farm, Wayne Bray has had to let go of half his cattle. He can't feed them any more.

Parched grasslands and a shortage of feedstock have hit cattle farmers hard. Many fear they'll go out of business. All for a drop of rain.

Dust storms are ranging across parts of America. Credit: ITV News

Well, four feet exactly. Fifty inches of rain is what some say the ground needs to revive and feed the crops trying to push through its baked topsoil.

Now, what's all this got to do with you? America supplies at least forty per cent, much more in some areas, of the world's corn.

A crop failure will mean higher food prices. Initially in the US but soon, worldwide.

So the withering crop on the Ohio plain may make the meat and two veg on your plate a lot more expensive.