* Wheat drops 3.6 percent to one-week low
* Rain forecast in dry U.S. Plains in coming week
* Warmer temperatures expected to speed up corn, soy
(Updates with U.S. trading, changes dateline from LONDON)
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, April 21 (Reuters) - U.S. grain and soybean futures
sank on Monday as improved weather conditions raised projections
for the upcoming wheat harvest in the Plains and for Midwest
Wheat futures dropped 3.6 percent to a one-week low on
expectations for more rainfall in the drought-stricken Plains.
Corn futures fell 1.4 percent to a three-week low as warmer
weather was projected to speed up planting.
Traders were focusing on weather after cold wintry weather
slowed the start of field work in the Midwest and dry weather
raised concerns about poor wheat production in the central and
"The wheat is the star of the show," said Sterling Smith,
futures specialist for Citi. "Good rains were seen in production
areas along with a better weather outlook, which is featuring
two more chances at significant rainfall during the coming
Chicago Board of Trade wheat for May delivery was down
25-1/2 cents, or 3.7 percent, at $6.65-3/4 a bushel at 10:15 a.m
CDT (1515 GMT). CBOT May corn slid 7 cents, or 1.4
percent, to $4.87-3/4 a bushel, while May soybeans lost
24-1/2 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $14.89-1/2.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue an update on
the condition of the wheat crop and on planting progress for
corn and soybeans in a weekly report due at 3 p.m. CDT (2000
Dealers said dryness in key U.S. hard red winter states such
as Kansas remained a concern, although weekend rains likely
brought some relief.
Forecasters are eyeing multiple storm systems across much of
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska and Colorado during the next
two weeks, noted Joe Vaclavik, president of Standard Grain.
"It looks as if field work will commence throughout the Corn
Belt this week and next week," he said.
Traders also were worried about the potential for China to
cancel soybean purchases and were keeping a close watch on
developments in Ukraine, a major exporter of both wheat and
An agreement reached last week to avert wider conflict in
Ukraine was faltering as the new week began, although grain
traders downplayed the risk for interrupted shipments.
"It looks like it's going to be an ugly day for the grain
futures today with prices having little reason to trade higher,
thus being pushed lower by strong selling pressure," said Kayla
Burkhart, broker for SunPrairie.
Strength in the U.S. dollar added pressure on prices by
making U.S. crops less attractive to foreign buyers, traders
The USDA reported that 495,250 tonnes of U.S. wheat were
expected for export in the week ended April 17, below analysts'
estimates for 500,000 to 700,000 tonnes. Inspections of 1.6
tonnes of corn for export topped expectations for 1.05 to 1.55
million, and soybean inspections of 138,777 tonnes were within
expectations of 135,000 to 350,000 tonnes.
Prices at 10:10 a.m. CDT (1510 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD
CHG CHG CHG
CBOT corn 488.25 -6.50 -1.3% 15.7%
CBOT soy 1491.00 -23.00 -1.5% 13.6%
CBOT meal 483.00 -5.30 -1.1% 10.3%
CBOT soyoil 42.79 -0.62 -1.4% 10.2%
CBOT wheat 665.75 -25.50 -3.7% 10.0%
CBOT rice 1521.00 -15.00 -1.0% -1.9%
EU wheat 217.00 -1.50 -0.7% 3.8%
US crude 104.54 0.24 0.2% 6.2%
Dow Jones 16,423 14 0.1% -0.9%
Gold 1286.90 -6.75 -0.5% 6.8%
Euro/dollar 1.3796 -0.0017 -0.1% 1.1%
Dollar Index 79.9410 0.1130 0.1% -0.1%
Baltic Freight 930 -6 -0.6% -59.2%
(Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London amd Naveen
Thukral in Singapore; editing by Jane Baird)