Corn Gains as Midwest Rain May Slow Planting; Soy, Wheat Rise

Corn rose the most this month on speculation that overnight rain in the Midwest and more forecast for next week will curb planting progress and increase risks for lower U.S. yields. Soybeans and wheat advanced.

Some fields from Kansas to Minnesota received as much as 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) of rain in the past 24 hours, increasing muddy conditions and slowing planting, Commodity Weather Group LLC said in a report. After a brief warming of temperatures next week, rain returns to curtail planting from South Dakota to Illinois on May 15, the forecaster said. Corn-planting progress as of May 5 was the slowest since 1984, government data show.

“The latest weather outlooks are a little wetter across Iowa and Illinois,” the two biggest corn growers, Joseph Vaclavik, the president of Standard Grain Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There is a little more uncertainty about farmers getting crops planted in a timely manner.”

Corn futures for July delivery jumped 2.5 percent to close at $6.4875 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since April 29. The price has tumbled 24 percent since drought sent the grain to a record $8.49 a bushel in August.

Postponed crop development may leave plants more vulnerable than usual to hot weather in June and July, when corn reproduces and begins to fill kernels with sugars and starch, Chris Gadd, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London, said today in a report.

“With a delayed planting, we are highly likely to see delays to the pollination,” Gadd wrote. “The core implication is that we are now far more likely to pollinate under hotter and drier conditions.”

Soybean futures for July delivery added 1.3 percent to $14.0875 a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for July delivery climbed 2.5 percent to $7.235 a bushel on the CBOT.

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