U.S. grains: Soybeans, corn slump on record USDA acreage projections

Wheat gains on harsh U.S. cold, surging European wheat

Chicago | Reuters — Corn and soybean futures retreated on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that U.S. farmers would devote more acres to the two crops this spring than any year on record.

U.S. wheat futures, meanwhile, climbed to the highest level in 2-1/2 weeks on rallying European wheat prices, a weaker dollar and concerns about U.S. winter crop damage due to frigid weather across the wheat belt.

Corn and soy extended earlier declines after USDA forecast 2021 corn plantings at 92 million acres and soybeans at 90 million acres at the agency’s annual Ag Outlook Forum, which would be the largest-ever combined plantings for the two crops. The corn acreage projection was slightly below trade expectations, while soybean acreage was a bit above.

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Positioning ahead of USDA’s broader supply-and-demand estimates, due to be released early on Friday, further pressured corn and soy.

“Historically, those (corn) acres have been low compared with final acres over the last 15 years. Soybean acres were above what the trade thought,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities.

“Now, people are worried that tomorrow, when we see the full Outlook Forum S+D, that the balance table is not as tight as we’d feared for corn and beans,” he added.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures fell 8-3/4 cents to $13.75 a bushel, while March corn fell 2-3/4 cents to $5.50-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT March wheat climbed 18-1/2 cents to $6.62-1/2 a bushel, following strong gains in Euronext wheat and a Russian consultancy’s forecast for a smaller 2021 crop in the world’s top wheat exporting nation.

Worries about U.S. winter wheat damage due to severely cold temperatures in the Plains wheat belt this week added further support.

— Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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