Corn Falls as Feed Use May Decline; Wheat, Soybeans Increase

Corn dropped for the second time in three sessions on speculation that shrinking U.S. cattle herds will mean fewer grain purchases by feedlot owners. Wheat and soybeans gained.

About 1.482 million young cattle were placed into feedlots in February, down 14 percent from the same month a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on March 22. Placements were the lowest for the month since the USDA started tracking the figure in 1996. The feedlot herd totaled 10.857 million as of March 1, down 7 percent from a year earlier, USDA data show.

“We have less on feed, and we’re placing fewer animals in feedlots,” Brian Hoops, the president of Midwest Market Solutions in Springfield, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. “Feed usage is pretty slow,” after the price of corn through yesterday gained 5 percent in 2013, he said.

Corn futures for May delivery fell 0.4 percent to settle at $7.3025 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price is up 3.8 percent in March, partly because of declining stockpiles in the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper.

Wheat futures for May delivery rose 0.6 percent to $7.315 a bushel in Chicago as freezing weather may have hurt winter crops in Oklahoma. The price this month has increased 2.4 percent.

Soybean futures for May delivery added 0.7 percent to $14.4775 a bushel on the CBOT. The most-active contract has gained 2.7 percent in 2013.

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