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Wheat Declines on Bets Rain Will Boost U.S. Winter Crop

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat fell for the fifth time in six sessions on speculation that rain will boost the winter crop in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter.

The southern Great Plains, the main growing area for the winter variety used to make bread, has a chance of precipitation in the next six to 10 days following six months of dry conditions, while normal to above-average rain and mostly warm weather will benefit plants in the eastern Midwest, Telvent DTN in Omaha, Nebraska, said in a report.

“We’re getting a little bit of rain coverage that is desperately needed, and that’s going to improve the topsoil moisture,” Frank J. Cholly, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a lot of time left” for the crop to improve, he said.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.7 percent to settle at $7.56 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has dropped 3.9 percent since Jan. 30.

Kansas City Board of Trade futures traded 45 cents a bushel above the Chicago price. The premium has tumbled 23 percent since Jan. 31.

High-protein hard red winter wheat used mostly in bread trades in Kansas City, and the CBOT offers the Midwest soft red winter variety used in cakes and cookies.

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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