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Wheat Advances for Third Day as Cold Weather Threatens U.S. Crop

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April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat climbed for a third day as freezing conditions in the U.S. raised the risk of more damage to the winter crop, while cold soil temperatures may delay spring planting. Corn increased and soybeans declined.

The May contract for wheat strengthened as much as 1.3 percent to $7.055 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade and was at $6.98 at 10:14 a.m. Singapore time on volume that was more than double the 100-day average for that time of day.

Soil temperatures in parts of the U.S. Plains fell to as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit, well below the 37 degrees needed to start planting, Bryce Anderson, an agricultural meteorologist at DTN, said in an interview from Omaha, Nebraska today. Winter-wheat crop conditions improved little since November, when they were the worst since government record-keeping began in 1985, the government said April 1.

“Contributing to the technical price recovery is the cooler-than-normal weather across much of the northern hemisphere, which is slowing crop development,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a report today. “Cold weather is seen delaying spring wheat planting in the U.S. Northern Plains, and concern lingers as to the extent of damage caused by frost in the U.S. Southern Plains last week.”

The total wheat harvest, including winter and spring varieties, will probably drop to 2.1 billion bushels in the year beginning June from 2.269 billion a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted Feb. 22. Corn for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $6.425 a bushel in Chicago, while soybeans fell 0.3 percent to $13.7675 a bushel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net