U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans fall on harvest pressure

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn and soybean futures weakened Wednesday on expectations that drier weather in the coming days will allow farmers in the Midwest to ramp up the harvest of what is expected to be record-large crops, traders said.

MGEX spring wheat and K.C. hard red winter wheat contracts firmed on tight stocks of high-protein supplies. Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat futures were mixed, with nearby contracts steady to weaker while deferred contracts were firm.

MGEX spring wheat neared a one-month peak during the session.

“Though world supplies of wheat remain plentiful, quality concerns around the world are helping the U.S. attract some business,” Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain market analyst, said in a note to clients.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat settled down 3/4 cent at $4.03-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). MGEX spring wheat for December delivery was up 5-3/4 cents at $5.08-1/2 a bushel.

“There was additional support for the wheat market with the Australian crop suffering from bad weather and hopes for more U.S. exports, said Frank Rijkers, agrifood economist at ABN AMRO Bank.

Australia’s wheat crop will likely fall short of official estimates of near-record volumes as heavy rains exacerbate recent damage to the crop. Problems in Australia could help push Asian export customers to the U.S., traders said.

CBOT December corn was down 2-1/2 cents at $3.29-1/4 a bushel and CBOT November soybeans were off seven cents at $9.45-1/2 a bushel.

“Corn was down most of the day, the culprit being harvest pressure,” said Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital. “The weather looks fantastic this week for harvesting until the middle of next week.”

U.S. corn and soybean harvests have been advancing slightly slower than average, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed on Monday. But fields are expected to dry out in the coming days in the Midwest grain belts.

“Weather forecasts in the huge Midwest grain and soybean belts are looking drier, which is what is needed at this stage of the year when the combine harvesters are rolling,” Rijkers said. “It should be remembered that record-large U.S. soybean and corn crops are expected.”

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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