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Corn Declines Most in a Week as U.S. Farmers Plant Record

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Corn futures posted the biggest drop in more than a week after the government said U.S. farmers planted the most ever in a single week as the Midwest got drier and warmer. Wheat fell to a seven-week low, and soybeans rose.

About 41.8 million acres of corn was sown last week, or 43 percent of this year’s intended planted area, U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report released late yesterday. That’s a record for acres seeded in one week, leaving 71 percent of the crop sown as of May 19. The USDA estimates the domestic harvest will rise to a record 359.2 million metric tons as fields recover from last year’s drought.

“The crop is coming up out of the ground quickly, and everything is looking good with a little water and warmer temperatures,” Shawn McCambridge, the senior grain analyst for Jefferies Bache LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. Yield potential will rise with “another couple of weeks of good planting progress and growing weather,” he said.

Corn futures for July delivery declined 1.5 percent to close at $6.40 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest drop since May 10. Corn for delivery in December, after the harvest, fell 1.6 percent to $5.12, the lowest since June, before settling unchanged at $5.2025.

U.S. soil-moisture reserves have increased in the past 90 days and further improvement is expected in western areas of the Midwest and Great Plains through Aug. 31, government data show. Still, “crops will need regular rain and moderate temperatures to reach full yield potential,” McCambridge said.

Wheat fell as rains in Ukraine and Russia helped replenish soil moisture, reducing demand for U.S. supplies, McCambridge said. Russia’s harvest may be larger than expected at 53.8 million tons, Dmitry Rylko, director of Moscow-based researcher IKAR, said yesterday.

Wheat futures for delivery in July dropped 0.7 percent to close at $6.805 a bushel, after touching $6.74, the lowest for a most-active contract since April 3.

Soybean futures for delivery July rose 0.9 percent to $14.7825 a bushel, after touching $14.7925, the highest for a most-active contract since March 12.

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

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