Corn Drops as Lower Feed Use May Boost Stockpiles; Wheat Falls

Corn fell the most in three weeks on speculation that U.S. livestock producers used less of the grain in animal feed than expected. Wheat tumbled, while soybeans rose.

The amount of corn used to feed animals may have dropped as the number of cattle on feed on March 1 was 7 percent lower than a year earlier, a bigger decline than the 6.4 percent drop expected by analysts. U.S. corn stockpiles on March 1 totaled 4.995 billion bushels, according to a Bloomberg survey. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release the March 1 grain stockpiles report at noon in Washington.

“The cattle numbers are down so I think it’s hard to see that kind of feed consumption,” Dewey Strickler, the president of Ag Watch Market Advisers in Franklin, Kentucky, said by telephone. “If there’s a surprise, it’ll be in corn stocks.”

Corn futures for May delivery fell 1.1 percent to $7.2725 a bushel at 10:30 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Through yesterday, the grain jumped 5.3 percent in the quarter.

Wheat futures for May delivery retreated 0.9 percent to $7.30 a bushel in Chicago. The price through yesterday plunged 5.3 percent in the quarter, making the grain more attractive than corn to animal feeders.

Soybean futures for May delivery climbed 0.3 percent to $14.575 a bushel on the CBOT. The price through yesterday was up 3.1 percent since Jan. 1.

Chicago floor trading will be closed tomorrow for Good Friday.