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Corn, Soybeans Drop on Better-Than-Expected U.S. Yields

Corn fell for a second day as Midwest crop-tour results showed fields in better condition than expected after the worst U.S. drought in a half century. Soybeans dropped from a record.

Corn yields in Illinois were estimated at 121.6 bushels an acre, while in western Iowa fields averaged 146.5 bushels, Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour findings showed yesterday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pegged Illinois corn yields at 116 bushels and Iowa at 141 bushels statewide. Drought spurred the USDA to slash its domestic crop outlook on Aug. 10 to a six-year low, sending corn prices to a record $8.49 a bushel in Chicago.

“We can’t expect prices to be rising much further from here given that most of the trouble is priced in, but there’s also no room for a major retreat,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG, said by phone from Frankfurt. “The supply situation remains very tight.”

Corn for December delivery fell 0.4 percent to $8.315 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade as of 1:25 p.m. London time. The most-active price rallied 64 percent since mid-June as the USDA cut its harvest forecast by 13 percent on Aug. 10 to 10.779 billion bushels.

Soybeans for November delivery were little changed at $17.2825 a bushel, after earlier climbing to $17.4475, a record for the most-active contract. On China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange, soybeans for January delivery climbed to 4,896 yuan per metric ton ($20.97 per bushel), the highest settlement for a most-active contract since July 2008 and an all-time high in dollar terms. China is the world’s biggest soybean consumer.

Crop Tour

Crop tour participants reported soybean-pod counts in Illinois as 21 percent lower than a year earlier, in line with the USDA’s projected drop in yields for the state. In western Iowa, the tour found soybean-pod counts to be 16 percent lower than a year earlier, while the USDA expects a 17 percent drop in yields.

The Professional Farmers of America will estimate U.S. crop output on Aug. 24, based partly on the findings of the tour, now in its 20th year.

Wheat for December delivery rose 0.3 percent to $9.20 a bushel in Chicago. In London, feed-wheat futures for November delivery rose for an eighth straight session to 207.15 pounds ($328.87) a ton on NYSE Liffe, as wet weather eroded harvest prospects in the U.K. In Paris, November-delivery milling wheat dropped 0.1 percent to 266.50 euros ($334.88) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Russia, the world’s third-largest wheat exporter last season, cut its grain harvest forecast to 75 million tons after dry weather curbed production, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said on Rossiya 24 television today. The government estimated output of no more than 80 million tons on July 31.

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