Corn Surges to 23-Month High as Hot Weather Cuts U.S. Output

Corn jumped to the highest level since October 2008 on speculation that the recent heat wave in the U.S. Midwest hurt the corn crop more than the government will say tomorrow.

Analysts in a Bloomberg News survey say the crop will total 13.189 billion bushels, on average, compared with the government’s August estimate of 13.365 billion. Temperatures in the Midwest last month averaged 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius), 3 degrees above the 60-year average, according to in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin.

“Early corn yields are disappointing in central Iowa,” said Kent Jessen, the director of merchandising for Heartland Cooperative in West Des Moines, Iowa. Yields in Heartland’s territory, which covers locations along 150 miles of Interstate 80, “look to be at least 10 percent below last year,” he said. Iowa is the biggest corn-producing state.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 8.25 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $4.7075 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $4.72, the highest level for the most-active contract since October 2008.

The price has gained 37 percent since June 29, the day before the government said that farmers planted less this year than they had planned.

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

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update its yield and production forecasts for corn and other crops at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington.

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