GRAINS-Corn hits contract lows on good weather ahead of US holiday

* Ample rains, mild temps in the Midwest as corn nears pollination

* China expected to scrap corn stockpiling

* Soybeans lower on good weather, fund liquidation

* CBOT wheat choppy while K.C., MGEX wheat decline (New throughout; updates prices, adds quotes; changes dateline from previous HAMBURG/SINGAPORE, changes byline)

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, July 2 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures fell to contract lows on Wednesday as optimal weather in the heart of the Corn Belt boosted prospects for a bumper harvest this autumn, traders said.

Soybean futures also fell while wheat was choppy, consolidating near 4-1/2 month lows established this week. Traders appeared to be adjusting positions ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday on Friday.

At the Chicago Board of Trade as of 12:15 p.m. CDT (1715 GMT), September corn was down 4-1/4 cents at $4.11-3/4 per bushel. August soybeans were down 9-3/4 cents at $13.18 a bushel and September wheat was up 2 cents at $5.74-1/2 a bushel.

Corn posted the biggest declines on a percentage basis, with benchmark December, representing the 2014 U.S. harvest, down 5 cents at $4.17-3/4 after touching $4.16-1/4.

The slide reflects the declining risk of a weather problem as the U.S. corn crop nears pollination, a crucial phase for determining yield. The bulk of the crop normally pollinates in mid-July.

“The weather forecast remains largely unchanged, which promotes fantastic development of corn and beans across the Midwest,” said Terry Reilly, grains analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

Heavy rains have fallen across the region in recent weeks, and there was no sign of a shift to stressful hot and dry weather. “Over the two-week period, it doesn’t seem like we have any problems out there,” Reilly said.

Expectations China may end its corn stockpiling programme as it struggles with massive state reserves added pressure.

Soybeans followed corn lower as commodity funds liquidated long positions in both products following bearish stocks and acreage reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA on Monday estimated U.S. 2014 soybean plantings at a record 84.8 million acres, exceeding market expectations. USDA estimates of June 1 soy and corn stocks also came in above average trade estimates.

CBOT wheat was little changed, but K.C. hard red winter and MGEX spring wheat futures fell on chart-based selling and fund liquidation. Commodity funds hold a net long in the two smaller markets but are net short in CBOT wheat.

Prices at 12:14 p.m. CDT (1714 GMT)                
 
                              LAST      NET    PCT  
 
                                        CHG    CHG  
 
 CBOT corn                  412.00    -4.00  -1.0%  
 CBOT soy                  1318.00    -9.75  -0.7%  
 CBOT meal                  426.20    -3.90  -0.9%  
 CBOT soyoil                 38.67    -0.30  -0.8%  
 CBOT wheat                 573.75     1.25   0.2%  
 
 (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan and Naveen Thukral,
editing by David Evans and Diane Craft)

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