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Corn Crop in India May Reach Record, Lifting Exports

India, Asia’s second-biggest corn grower, may have a record crop because of above-normal rainfall, increasing exports, according to Adani Enterprises Ltd., the country’s biggest non-state trader of farm goods.

Production may exceed 20 million metric tons in the year to June 2011, beating 19.73 million tons, the highest-ever, gathered in 2009, Atul Chaturvedi, president of Adani, said in a telephone interview today from Ahmedabad.

Corn rallied to near a two-year high on the Chicago Board of Trade on concern that U.S. output may fall on lower yields and as drought in Russia delays planting of the winter-grains crop. Shipments from India will “certainly” top 500,000 tons in the marketing year ending Sept. 30 as the nation may have a surplus of 2 million to 3 million tons, Chaturvedi said.

“With prices being what they are, India definitely gets a bigger opportunity,” he said. “There will be enough surplus.”

Corn may reach $5.75 a bushel as production falls in the U.S., Macquarie Group Ltd. said in a report Sept. 17. Russian farmers have sown 39 percent less land with winter grains from a year ago because of dry weather, Interfax reported the same day.

Futures for December delivery added as much as 2.1 percent to $5.2375 a bushel, the highest level since Sept. 30, 2008, and traded at $5.23 at 3:30 p.m. Mumbai time.

U.S. corn yields will fall to 162.5 bushels an acre, down from 164.1 bushels forecast on Aug. 20, Professional Farmers of America said Sept. 17. The revised forecast is in line with the outlook from the USDA.

‘Gloom and Doom’

Russia banned grain shipments until after the next harvest because of drought, tightening global wheat supplies and lifting demand for corn as a substitute. Martell Crop Projections, a forecaster, said Sept. 16 that the outlook for Russia’s winter-wheat planting is “doom and gloom.”

“You sure have a good recipe for Indian crops’ success in the world market,” Adani’s Chaturvedi said. “We are having a good crop, be it corn, cotton or soybean, and the world crops aren’t all that great with Russia and Ukraine having their worst ever drought and Brazil facing a bit of dry weather.”

India, the world’s second-biggest wheat grower, may harvest 82 million tons, a record for a fourth straight year, as above- average rains raise water levels in major dams and lakes, Farm Secretary P.K. Basu said last week. Rice output may also reach a record, Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said.

Levels in 81 major dams was 125 percent of last year on Sept. 16, the Central Water Commission data show. Farmers use this water for wheat and oilseeds sown in October and December.

“India will be the beneficiary of the tightness in global corn market,” Krishna Reddy, an analyst at Way2Wealth Brokers Ltd., said. “The lower freight charges to Southeast Asia will also work to India’s advantage.”

India sells corn mostly to buyers in Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea.

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