Corn, Soybean Prices Rise as Hot, Dry Weather May Jeopardize U.S. Crops

(Corrects soybean’s high reference in first paragraph.)

Corn prices rose the most in a week and soybean futures climbed to a two-month high on speculation that a heat wave may damage crops in the U.S., the biggest producer and exporter.

As much as 20 percent of Midwest crops may be harmed over the next six weeks, said Joel Widenor, the director of agriculture services at the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Temperatures may approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) next week from Omaha, Nebraska, to Springfield, Illinois.

“People are buying because of the fear” that adverse conditions will reduce output, said Tim Hannagan, a grain analyst at PFG Best Inc. in Chicago. “A lot of consumers don’t have as much corn and soybeans bought as they would like with the increased weather threats.”

Corn futures for December delivery rose 9.25 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $3.9625 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since July 7. In the two weeks ended July 9, the price jumped 9.6 percent after the government said that farmers planted less than they had intended this year.

Soybean futures for November delivery climbed 7.5 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $9.62 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $9.67, the highest level since May 13. The oilseed has gained 6.6 percent this month.

Last week, soybean conditions deteriorated amid rain in parts of the western Midwest and dry weather across southern and eastern growing regions.

“We haven’t seen this kind of weather risk to crops in several years,” Hannagan said. “There was a rush of fund buying today.”

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $48.6 billion in 2009, followed by soybeans at $31.8 billion, government figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

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