Soy, Corn Gain as Farmers Withhold Supplies; Wheat Drops

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean and corn futures rose for the second straight day after U.S. farmers withheld supplies from last year’s crop as wet, cold weather delays Midwest planting. Wheat declined.

Many fields from central Arkansas to northern Wisconsin will get 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain through April 19, saturating soils, T-Storm Weather LLC in Chicago said in a report. Cold temperatures in the next two weeks will slow drying of fields, delaying planting, the forecaster said. Corn has slumped 24 percent from a record in August, and soybeans have tumbled 23 percent from the all-time high in September.

“Until we get the crop in the ground, farmers will remain reluctant sellers,” Richard Feltes, the vice president of research at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Futures and cash markets are rising to get farmers to sell more of last year’s crops.”

Soybean futures for July delivery advanced 0.3 percent to close at $13.80 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Yesterday, the price rose 1.4 percent, the most since March 21.

Corn futures for July delivery gained 0.1 percent to $6.4125 a bushel. Yesterday, the price jumped 2 percent, the most in three months.

U.S. soybean inventories fell 27 percent as of March 1 from a year earlier, while corn stockpiles dropped 10 percent, according to government statistics on March 28. Planting on April 14 was 2 percent completed, the slowest since 1993.

Wheat fell on speculation that rain in parts of the southern Great Plains will help crops recover from freeze damage in the past two weeks, Feltes said.

Warmer temperatures next week in the northern Plains and parts of the Canadian Prairies will begin melting snow, allowing dry soil to soak up moisture for planting to start by the middle of May, Feltes said.

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 0.1 percent to $7.0725 a bushel in Chicago. The price has climbed 7.2 percent from a nine-month low on April 1 as crop prospects deteriorated.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

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