Corn futures jumped the most in 10 months as rain and frigid weather slowed the pace of planting in the U.S., the world’s top exporter. Wheat and soybeans rose.
Farmers sowed 4 percent of corn crops as of April 21, trailing the five-year average pace of 16 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said April 22. The agency will update its weekly crop progress today. Much of the Midwest from Missouri to Michigan had double the normal rainfall in the past two weeks, and the region will remain wet and cool through May 7, T-Storm Weather LLC in Chicago said in a report.
“The weather is wetter, and little planting is likely to occur with most farmers still working to apply fertilizer and prepare fields for seeds,” Jim Gerlach, the president of A/C Trading Inc. in Fowler, Indiana, said in a telephone interview. “The risk is that this weather doesn’t break and planting delays become more severe in May,” increasing the risk of crop damage during summer heat, Gerlach said.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for July delivery surged by the exchange limit of 40 cents or 6.5 percent, to $6.5975 a bushel at 1:14 p.m., the highest for a most-active contract since April 1. A close at that price would mark the biggest gain since June 25.
Corn futures for December delivery, after the harvest, jumped as much as 36 cents, or 6.9 percent, to $5.60.
Iowa, Illinois and Indiana probably will have the wettest April ever, T-Storm Weather said. Fields from northern Louisiana to Michigan may get as much as 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) of rain in the next six days, increasing planting delays for most of the central U.S., the forecaster said.
Corn rose as some traders unwound bets on a price slump, Gerlach said. In the week ended April 23, hedge funds increased net-short positions by 14 percent to 197,224 futures and option contracts, the most since the Commodity Futures Trading Commission started reporting the data in June 2006, agency data showed on April 26.
On the Kansas City Board of Trade, wheat futures for July delivery advanced 3.2 percent to $7.7475 a bushel. A close at that price would mark the biggest increase since Nov. 27. Earlier, the grain reached $7.79, the highest since March 28.
Growers, grain traders and industry analysts are touring fields this week in Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer of the winter variety. Drought conditions and freezing temperatures three times this month across most of the central and southern Great Plains will cut U.S. yields to 43 bushels an acre from 47.2 bushels a year earlier, Berwyn, Pennsylvania Planalytics Inc. said today in a report.
“Very poor winter wheat-condition ratings and a late emergence from dormancy have seen many make substantial cuts” to estimates, Chris Gadd, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London, said in a report.
In Chicago, wheat futures for July delivery rose 3.3 percent to $7.155. A close at that price would mark the biggest gain since April 3. Earlier, the price reached $7.1975, the highest since April 15.
Soybean futures for July delivery advanced 2 percent to $14.09 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $14.1075, the highest since March 28
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, hay and wheat, USDA data show.
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