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Wheat Falls as Precipitation May Boost Crops in U.S. Plains

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat fell, heading for its biggest monthly decline in more than a year, on speculation that rain and snow in the U.S. Great Plains and Midwest will boost prospects for crops that are dormant for the winter.

Snow is expected in the southern Plains, where hard-red winter wheat is grown, and precipitation may fall as a winter storm covers most of Iowa, Nebraska and northwestern Missouri, forecaster DTN said in a report today. Concern that crops would be damaged by the worst U.S. drought since 1956 had helped send wheat prices up as much as 51 percent since mid-June.

“We’re getting some rain and some snow in areas that needed it,” Jon Marcus, the president of Lakefront Futures and Options LLC in Chicago, said by telephone.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.7 percent to settle at $8.0575 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price is down 6.7 percent since Nov. 30, heading for the biggest monthly slump since September 2011, on speculation that global stockpiles won’t fall as much as expected.

In the U.S., wheat is the fourth-largest crop, valued at $14.4 billion in 2011, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

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

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

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