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U.S. Corn Seeding Speeds Up as Warm Weather Aids Fieldwork

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. farmers are planting corn faster than last year as warm, dry weather aided fieldwork in Iowa and Illinois, the largest producers, the Department of Agriculture said.

About 7 percent of the crop was seeded as of yesterday, up from 3 percent a week earlier and 3 percent at the same time in 2011, the USDA said today in a report. Little or no rain fell in Nebraska, Iowa and northern Illinois in the past week, National Weather Service data show. Precipitation is expected this week, boosting crop development, Telvent DTN said in a report today.

“A few people took a stab at it last week and got some corn planted,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, a partner at Summit Commodity Brokerage in Des Moines, Iowa. “Everybody’s going to be planting like crazy this week. We’ve had soil temperatures as high as the mid-60s. If you can get into the 50s you’re good on planting.”

Corn futures fell 1.4 percent to $6.49 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade today. The price is little changed this year on speculation that U.S. growers will plant the most since 1937 amid favorable weather and rising global consumption.

The winter-wheat crop was rated 61 percent good or excellent as of yesterday, up from 58 percent a week earlier and 36 percent a year earlier, the USDA said. Rain during the past week improved prospects for crops coming out of dormancy in Kansas and Oklahoma, the biggest U.S. growers.

An estimated 21 percent of spring wheat was planted as of yesterday, up from 8 percent a week earlier and 3 percent a year earlier. The cotton crop was 9 percent planted, up from 7 percent a week ago and 7 percent at the same time a year earlier, the USDA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McKiernan at pmckiernan@bloomberg.net

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