* U.S. crop tour finds wheat yields well below average
* July wheat contract records longest ever rally
* Corn flat, soybeans edge lower
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY, May 1 (Reuters) – Chicago wheat futures rose for an eighth consecutive session on Thursday, trading near a five-week high, as a widely watched U.S. crop tour confirmed widespread damage to yields from prolonged dry weather.
Corn shrugged off pressure from forecasts for good planting weather to stand little changed, while soybeans fell for a second straight session.
Chicago Board of Trade July wheat futures rose 0.31 percent to $7.23-3/4 a bushel, adding to its 0.7 percent rise in the previous session, when the grain hit a five-week high of 7.24-3/4 a bushel.
Wheat’s rally continued as the Wheat Quality Council crop tour continued to show yields below historical averages.
“It just keeps getting worse… the Wheat Quality Council crop tour’s findings are confirming that the yields are well down and the market is responding,” said Andrew Woodhouse, grains analyst at Advance Trading Australasia.
Crop scouts on the second day of an annual three-day tour of Kansas projected an average yield for hard red winter wheat in the southwestern portion of the state at 30.8 bushels per acre, down from 37.1 bushels a year ago.
The tour’s five-year average for the same area is 38.8 bushels per acre.
On Wednesday, the yield prospects for winter wheat in northern Kansas were seen at the worst in more than a decade following months of drought, a frigid winter and a mid-April freeze, scouts said.
July corn futures were unchanged at $5.19 a bushel, having closed down 0.48 percent on Wednesday.
Corn was stable despite forecasts for better planting weather across the U.S. Corn Belt.
Warmer and drier conditions were forecast beginning this weekend in the southern and central U.S. Corn Belt, which should provide farmers an opportunity to catch up on spring seedings that were off to a slow start, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.
Corn was also under pressure from a U.S. Energy Information Administration report on Wednesday showing the ethanol stockpile at the highest since July.
July soybeans fell 0.23 percent to $15.09-1/4 a bushel, having closed down 0.3 percent in the previous session.
Grains prices at 0323 GMT Contract
Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat
696.45 70 CBOT corn
504.18 66 CBOT soy
1465.03 67 CBOT rice
$15.53 66 WTI crude
$99.68 -$0.06 -0.06%
$101.50 30 Currencies
$1.387 $0.000 +0.02%
+0.18% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Editing by Ed Davies)