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Wheat Rises as No Rainfall Expected in U.S. Southern Plains

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Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat rose the most in more than two weeks as rain is not expected to fall in the next seven days in the southern U.S. Great Plains, where high-protein hard-red winter varieties used to make bread are grown.

Most of Kansas, the biggest producer of winter wheat in the U.S., will be dry for the next week, according to a forecast by the National Weather Service. Crops in Kansas were rated 20 percent good or excellent as of Jan. 27, down from 24 percent on Dec. 30, Department of Agriculture data show.

“I’ve never seen crop conditions fall this much in the winter,” Larry Glenn, an analyst at Frontier Ag in Quinter, Kansas, said by telephone. “It’s still dry here. And it’s the same thing for the western part of the Corn Belt. They need moisture for the fall crops.”

Wheat futures for March delivery climbed 1.3 percent to settle at $7.87 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Jan. 15. Last year, the price gained 19 percent, the most among 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.

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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