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wheat

Wheat Extends Rally as Worsening U.S. Crops Curb Supply

Corn and soybeans fell for a second day in Chicago on speculation that planting in the U.S. will accelerate in the next week as weather turns warmer and drier in the Midwest. Wheat also declined, erasing an earlier gain.

The central and southern U.S. Corn Belt will be mostly dry until at least May 8 and warmer temperatures early next week will help dry out soils so farmers can plant, Commodity Weather Group said in an e-mailed report today. While corn planting has been delayed in recent weeks because of wet conditions, farmers are just starting to sow soybeans, and fieldwork is progressing near the normal pace, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

"It's very, very early days really for the market to get too excited about building in a late-planting weather premium," Dave Norris, an independent grain broker in Harrogate, England, said today in a telephone interview. "With all the modern equipment and technology farmers have got now, when they really want to they can plant a lot of corn in a week's time."

Corn for July delivery fell 0.8 percent to $5.15 a bushel by 7:01 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans for the same delivery month declined 0.6 percent to $15.04 a bushel. Both commodities rose last month, bolstered by wet Midwest weather, tensions in Ukraine and tightening oilseed stockpiles in the U.S. after a jump in Chinese demand earlier this year.
Corn Sowing

U.S. farmers may plant a record 81.493 million acres of soybeans this year, while corn sowing drops to a four-year low of 91.691 million acres, the USDA said March 31. Farmers planted 19 percent of corn in the main U.S. growing areas as of April 27, slower than the five-year average pace of 28 percent, according to the USDA. Soybean planting was 3 percent complete, compared with a normal rate of 4 percent. The USDA is scheduled to release its next progress report May 5.

Wheat for July delivery fell 0.5 percent to $7.1775 a bushel after earlier rising as much as 0.4 percent. Prices rose in the previous seven straight sessions and reached $7.2475 yesterday, the highest since May 2013. The wheat market in Paris is closed today for a national holiday.

Wheat futures have rallied 19 percent this year in Chicago in part as dry conditions in the Great Plains, the largest U.S. growing region, raised concern that yields would drop. Analysts traveling through Kansas this week on an annual crop tour estimated yields were 17 percent lower than last year in western areas and 21 percent lower in central regions.

U.S. winter wheat was rated 34 percent in poor or very poor condition as of April 27, compared with 33 percent a week earlier, USDA data show. Hard-red winter wheat futures for July delivery touched $8.17 a bushel today, the highest since February 2013, before declining 0.2 percent to $8.1125 a bushel.

To contact the reporters on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Sharon Lindores, Dan Weeks

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