Corn rose to the highest in five weeks on speculation that snow, rain and unusually cold weather will slow the pace of planting in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower. Wheat also advanced, and soybeans declined.
As much as 14 inches (36 centimeters) of snow fell in parts of Minnesota during the past 24 hours, and fields from eastern Nebraska to Wisconsin received as much as 2 inches of rain, according to Dan Hicks, a meteorologist for Freese-Notis Weather Inc. Just 5 percent of the corn crop was planted as of April 28, below the five-year average of 31 percent, government data show. Storms will return by May 9, and below-normal temperatures will prevent the soil from drying, Hicks said.
“The corn market is adding some weather premium because you can’t make progress when fields stay wet and soils don’t warm up,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “The cool temperatures are a bigger concern because it slows drying and hinders seed emergence.”
Corn futures for delivery in July climbed 2.4 percent to settle at $6.62 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest close for a most-active contract since March 28.
A persistent delay in planting probably will mean production will be less than forecast, around 13.3 billion bushels, keeping inventories “uncomfortably tight,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a report today. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast 2013 output at a record 14.53 billion, up 35 percent from last year’s drought-damaged harvest. The agency will update its forecasts on May 10.
Wheat futures for July delivery added 1 percent to $7.285 a bushel in Chicago.
Soybean futures for July delivery fell 0.1 percent to $13.7225 a bushel on the CBOT.