U.S. grains: New-crop soy hits contract low as tour sees big yields

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — New-crop U.S. soybean futures touched a new contract low on Wednesday and corn slid as a closely watched crop tour projected hefty U.S. yields in key states and forecasts for rain fuelled massive harvest expectations.

Wheat retreated from gains on Tuesday as concerns eased about the risk of reduced supplies from Ukraine, a leading grain exporter.

Instead, traders focused on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, which entered its third day with participants surveying good-looking fields in Illinois and Iowa.

End-of-day tour results from Illinois “should confirm expectations for record corn yield,” said Rich Feltes, vice-president of research for brokerage RJ O’Brien. The state has been described by analysts as the garden spot of the Midwest because of its healthy crops.

Scouts on one leg of the tour found corn and soy fields in west-central Illinois were damp and on track for record yields.

“Corn futures are struggling with big yield numbers from the Pro Farmer tour,” said Kayla Burkhart, broker for CHS SunPrairie in North Dakota.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn sank 1.3 per cent to $3.67-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). November soybeans ended down 1.4 per cent at $10.38 a bushel after setting a contract low of $10.36-1/2, below the previous low of $10.38-3/4 from Aug. 14. December wheat dropped 1.5 per cent to $5.50 a bushel.

Commodity funds sold an estimated 5,000 soybean contracts and 4,000 contracts each of wheat and corn.

Reports from the Pro Farmer tour have fuelled expectations that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will raise its corn and soy yield estimates in the coming months. The USDA has already predicted record-large harvests.

Pro Farmer’s editors will release their estimates of total U.S. crop production on Friday.

“Beneficial rains fell to corn and soybean growing areas overnight and more is in the forecast, giving the row crops more reason to trade lower,” Burkhart said.

In the wheat market, attention turned back to the generally plentiful global supply outlook. Prices dropped after edging up 0.8 percent on Tuesday on concerns the conflict in Ukraine could reduce the country’s wheat exports.

European wheat prices also stumbled.

On Thursday, traders will digest weekly U.S. export sales data. Analysts estimate U.S. wheat sales last week were 350,000 to 500,000 tonnes, corn sales were 650,000 to one million tonnes, and soybean sales were 850,000 to 1.15 million tonnes.

— Tom Polansek reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters from Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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