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Soybeans Reach Record as Drought Reduces U.S. Yields; Corn Gains

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans rose to an all-time high on signs that the U.S. drought has cut production more than the government forecast last month. Soybean meal also reached a record, and corn gained for the first time in three sessions.

Soybean production may fall 15 percent to 2.602 billion bushels from a year earlier, Allendale Inc., a researcher and broker, said today after surveying farmers. That compares with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate of 2.692 billion on Aug. 10. Corn output will total 10.326 billion bushels, trailing the USDA’s forecast of 10.779 billion, according to Allendale. Both crops will be the smallest since 2003.

“The weather caused more yield losses, and it is more widespread than expected,” Rich Nelson, the chief strategist for McHenry, Illinois-based Allendale, said in a telephone interview. “It’s going to be a tight supply situation, especially for soybeans. Farmers will hold onto their crops until they know how much they will harvest this year.”

Soybean futures for November delivery gained 0.7 percent to $17.6825 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after reaching a record $17.89.

Soybean-meal futures for December delivery closed unchanged at $533.40 per 2,000 pounds in Chicago, after surging to an all-time high of $541.80.

Corn futures for December delivery climbed 0.7 percent to $8.05 a bushel on the CBOT. The most-active contract touched a record $8.49 on Aug. 10.

Soybeans jumped 32 percent and corn soared 45 percent since the end of May as the worst drought in more than 50 years damaged Midwest crops. As of Aug. 26, about 38 percent of the oilseed crop and 52 percent of the grain were in poor or very poor condition, the most for both since the USDA started collecting the data in 1986.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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