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Corn Rises to Five-Week High as Cold Hinders Fieldwork

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Corn futures rose to a five-week high as cold, wet weather in the U.S. Midwest hindered fieldwork prior to crop planting. Wheat gained, while soybeans dropped.

Snow, rain and declining temperatures this week in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska, the biggest U.S. growers of corn and soybeans, are preventing farmers from tilling fields and applying fertilizer, Telvent DTN, based in Omaha, Nebraska, said in a report. Snow and freezing rain are expected in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, National Weather Service data show.

“It looks like hopes for early spring, early planting and an earlier harvest are fading, based on the latest weather forecasts,” Mike Krueger, the president of Money Farm, a grain-marketing advisory service in Casselton, North Dakota, said in a telephone interview. “The U.S. east of the Rockies has much-below normal temperatures.”

Corn futures for May delivery rose 1.2 percent to settle at $7.2850 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price reached $7.2875, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 6.

Wheat futures for May delivery gained 1.3 percent to $7.22 a bushel.

Soybean futures for May delivery fell 0.2 percent to $14.0675 a bushel. Earlier, the price climbed as much as 0.7 percent. The oilseed dropped for the sixth straight session, the longest slump since September 2011.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, hay and wheat, government figures show.

To contact the reporters on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Toronto at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.net; 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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