Corn, Soybeans Climb as Dry Midwest Weather May Cut U.S. Yields

Corn futures rose to a 10-week high and soybeans gained on speculation that recent rains in the U.S. Midwest weren’t enough to ease dry conditions and abate damage to yields.

Parts of southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and west-central Illinois have had less than 25 percent of normal rainfall since Aug. 1, Allen Motew, a meteorologist with QT Weather in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. The region had “virtually no” rain from storms over the weekend that brought as much as 1.25 inches (3.2 centimeters) to parts of southern Wisconsin, northeast Illinois and Michigan, Motew said.

“The rain amounts were lighter than expected on Friday, with the coverage area maybe just about 35 percent,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said by telephone. “The areas that needed rain most stayed dry.”

Corn futures for December delivery rose 9.25 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $7.345 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $7.365, the highest for a most-active contract since June 9. The commodity is up 68 percent in the past year.

Soybean futures for November delivery climbed 16.75 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $13.8525 a bushel in Chicago. Earlier, the price rose to $13.885, the highest since July 27. The oilseed is up 38 percent in the past year.

Moderate Drought

Iowa and Illinois are the biggest U.S. growers of corn and soybeans. Conditions in some areas of those states range from “abnormally dry” to “moderate” drought, according to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s U.S. Drought Monitor.

Farmers and analysts are taking field samples across the Midwest this week on the annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Preliminary reports today in central and northwest Ohio showed that corn yields are likely to be worse than 2010, and soybean pod counts were lower.

“The Pro Farmer tour starts this week, so the trade will be gauging those results to see how varied the yields are,” Brian Hoops, the president of Midwest Market Solutions, said by telephone from Yankton, South Dakota. “I imagine we’ll see big yield swings from state to state.”

Corn is the largest U.S. crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at $38.9 billion, government data show.

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