U.S. grains: Wheat rises on spring crop woes; corn, soy firm

Chicago / Reuters – U.S. wheat futures rose on Thursday, led by gains in MGEX spring wheat contracts, supported by results from a tour that illustrated the damage done to the crop in a key growing area, traders said.

Corn and soybeans were also higher as uncertainty over the impact of dryness in parts of the U.S. Midwest underpinned prices despite rainfall and milder temperatures this week.

Traders also noted bargain buying following declines in corn and wheat that pushed those commodities to July lows earlier this week.

MGEX spring wheat for September delivery was up 6-1/2 cents at $7.36-1/2 a bushel. Chicago Board of Trade September soft red winter wheat futures were 2 cents higher at $4.79-3/4 a bushel.

The 2017 U.S. hard red spring wheat crop was projected to yield 38.1 bushels per acre (bpa), scouts on the Wheat Quality Council’s annual crop tour said on Thursday, down from the tour’s 2016 forecast of 45.7 bpa and the tour’s prior five-year average of 46.8 bpa.

“The premium due to the threat to spring wheat had come off a little in the last few weeks as people realized major downgrades would alter the supply and demand fundamentals, though the crop tour has propelled the issue back into focus,” National Australia Bank agribusiness economist Phin Ziebell said.

CBOT December corn futures were 1-3/4 cents higher at $3.87-3/4 a bushel and CBOT November soybeans were up 7-1/4 cents at $10.07-1/2 a bushel.

“(There was) less rain than hoped for in Iowa, with not much (expected) the rest of the week,” Kevin Stockard, market analyst at CHS Hedging, said in a note to clients. “Traders (are) looking for a reason to buy near recent lows.”

Traders continued to closely monitor U.S. weather as both corn and soybean crops are in key development periods.

“Iowa, southern Minnesota, Nebraska, and Upper Midwest look to stay dry through early August; cool temperatures will slow moisture loss, but threats to U.S. corn and soybean yields remain,” Thomson Reuters Agriculture Research analysts said in a daily update.

– Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris

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