Corn and soybean futures declined on speculation that the worst U.S. drought since 1956 caused less crop damage than the government expected in Indiana, the nation’s fifth-largest grower. Wheat also fell.
Field surveys conducted yesterday during the annual Professional Farmer Crop Tour showed corn production may reach 113.3 bushels an acre, compared with an Aug. 10 forecast of 100 bushels by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Soybean-pod counts from yesterday’s samplings showed a 9.2 percent drop from last year, implying a yield drop from last year to 40.9 bushels an acre. The USDA forecast 37 bushels on Aug. 10.
“We were expecting to see a train wreck in the fields, and this isn’t quite the train wreck we were expecting,” Mike Zuzolo, the president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting in Lafayette, Indiana, said by telephone. “This calls into question whether the USDA will have to lower its production estimate next month.”
Corn futures for December delivery declined 0.5 percent to settle at $8.3475 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price yesterday reached $8.40, the highest since touching a record $8.49 on Aug. 10. The most-active contract is up 65 percent since mid-June.
Soybean futures for November delivery fell 0.3 percent to $17.2775 a bushel on the CBOT, after reaching a record $17.3425. The price is up 31 percent since June 15.
Wheat futures for December delivery slumped 0.5 percent to $9.17 a bushel in Chicago, the first decline since Aug. 14.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans, hay and wheat, government figures show.