U.S. grains: Corn, soy climb on smaller-than-expected acreage view

Wheat follows corn, soy higher

CBOT September 2020 corn with 20- and 50-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago corn futures surged nearly four per cent on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that American farmers planted 92 million acres of corn this spring, a figure that fell below a range of analyst expectations.

Soybean futures rose after USDA put U.S. plantings at 83.8 million acres, up a bit from its March forecast but below most analyst expectations.

Chicago Board of Trade September corn was up 12-3/4 cents at $3.41-1/2 a bushel, its biggest jump since May 28, 2019, after reaching $3.45-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT August soybeans added 17-1/4 cents to $8.78-3/4 per bushel, while CBOT September wheat was up 5-1/4 cents at $4.91-3/4 a bushel.

USDA’s corn planting figure was about five million acres below its March 31 forecast of 97 million acres, the biggest March-to-June drop since 1983.

“Corn acres were well below expectations. Producers moved into spring with a bearish market and lots of uncertainty,” said Brian Basting, analyst with Advance Trading. “We really did not see much of a transition of those acres over to soybeans, which were only up 300,000 from March. It’s a bit of a mystery.”

U.S. June 1 corn stocks were larger than anticipated, with 5.224 billion bushels in storage, topping a range of trade expectations. Soybean stocks at 1.392 billion bushels were in line with expectations but down 400 million bushels from a year ago.

“The stocks report was actually a little bit negative, but nobody cared because the plantings report was so dramatically positive,” said Jack Scoville of Price Futures Group.

The smaller-than-expected plantings figures for both corn and soybeans offset pressure from favorable weather that has bolstered crop production expectations heading into July.

After Monday’s close, USDA rated 73 per cent of U.S. corn in good-to-excellent condition, up from 72 per cent last week, while 71 per cent of U.S. soybeans are in a good-to-excellent state, against 70 per cent last week.

— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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