GRAINS-Corn, soy fall on expectations for U.S. planting progress

* USDA report confirms planting progress despite wet weather
    * U.S. soy plantings well behind average pace
    * Traders hope drier weather will open window for planting
    * Floods stall barge traffic on Mississippi River

 (Adds closing prices, details on Mississippi River floods)
    By Tom Polansek
    CHICAGO, June 4 (Reuters) - Deferred U.S. corn and soybean
futures stumbled on Tuesday as forecasts for a pause in rainy
weather raised expectations that farmers will follow through on
plans for massive plantings.
    Traders are keeping a close eye on the weather because cool,
wet conditions have slowed planting so far this spring, fueling
fears that farmers would not plant as many acres as expected. The latest forecasts "suggest that we're going to catch up and we're going to get a lot of grain planted," said grain analyst Tim Hannagan of Walsh Trading. "The planting window won't open all the way, but it's going to be about three-fourths open," he said. Chicago Board of Trade December corn, which represents the crop that will be harvested this autumn, fell 1.3 percent to $5.53 a bushel, after losing 1.3 percent on Monday. November soybeans slipped 0.7 percent to $13.16 a bushel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly report on Monday that the U.S. corn crop was 91 percent planted as of Sunday, up from 86 percent a week earlier but behind the five-year average of 95 percent. Soybeans were 57 percent planted, up from 44 percent the previous week but far behind the five-year average of 74 percent. "The progress report indicated that the corn is gradually getting planted, and there looks like a window of opportunity for producers later this week," said analyst Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage. "If the weather straightens out after this midweek rain and allows planting to progress, then the bean price may be as high
as it needs to be for this run," he said. CROP OUTLOOK With worries easing about planting, traders are beginning to shift their focus to how weather will impact the development of crops. In its first corn condition ratings of the season, the USDA on Monday said 63 percent of the crop was good to excellent, which tied with 2008 for the lowest rating at this time of year since 2002. Traders in the market will "keep on removing weather premium as long as the weather looks good for crop development," said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions. Spot July corn rose 0.7 percent to $6.60-1/2 a bushel, underpinned by tight nearby supplies. July soybeans lost 0.2 percent to $15.28-1/2 a bushel in a setback from gains on Monday. GAUGING RAIN The USDA's state reports on Monday said heavy rains fell in the last week from North Dakota to Indiana, with some areas receiving 6 inches (15 cm) in the week. Deadly tornadoes and flooding struck in Oklahoma. The precipitation eased drought conditions in parts of the southern Plains winter wheat belt. The USDA said 32 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week.
July wheat ended near unchanged at $7.09 a bushel. Heavy rains have stalled barge traffic on a flooded stretch of the Mississippi River, but relatively few vessels stood waiting at the channel's system of locks on Tuesday as shippers had received ample warning of the rising water. Some 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports is transported via the Mississippi River and its tributaries from farm areas in the Midwest to export terminals at the Gulf Coast. Prices at 2:59 p.m. CDT (1959 GMT) LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 660.50 4.75 0.7% -5.4% CBOT soy 1528.75 -3.75 -0.2% 7.8% CBOT meal 452.50 -1.90 -0.4% 7.6% CBOT soyoil 48.59 -0.07 -0.1% -1.2% CBOT wheat 709.00 0.25 0.0% -8.9% CBOT rice 1552.00 6.00 0.4% 4.4% EU wheat 207.50 -0.25 -0.1% -17.1% US crude 93.50 0.05 0.1% 1.8% Dow Jones 15,179 -75 -0.5% 15.8% Gold 1398.80 -12.30 -0.9% -16.5% Euro/dollar 1.3081 0.0007 0.0% -0.9% Dollar Index 82.7520 0.0960 0.1% 3.7% Baltic Freight 805 -1 -0.1% 15.2% (Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, James Dalgleish and Jim Marshall)



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