Solar storms have caused some GPS systems to malfunction. As a result, farmers in the United States have been forced to stop sowing at a time when the critical corn planting season is approaching, The Verge reports.

The failure of GPS systems has affected the accuracy of real-time kinematics (RTK) systems. John Deere and other brands of tractors rely on RTK for “centimeter precision positioning” when performing agricultural tasks such as sowing or fertilizing.

Due to the current problem, the crop rows do not follow the trajectory of the tractor navigation system. This can make it difficult to maintain the fields.

Modern agriculture relies heavily on high-tech, often fully automated tractors and other equipment. When they break down, farmers face problems, because the entire life cycle of their crops is tied to technology.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the current solar storms are among the strongest in the past two decades. However, they are predicted to subside soon.

Meanwhile, experts are sounding the alarm – according to, May 15 “is a critical date for planting corn.” They call it a “huge” problem if farmers do not get the planting done by then.