May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Corn futures climbed in Chicago on concern that slow planting progress in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower, will weigh on yields and curb production.
Corn for delivery in July climbed as much as 1.5 percent to $6.5675 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade and was at $6.5375 by 7:45 a.m. local time.
U.S. farmers had planted 5 percent of corn as of April 28, trailing the five-year average pace of 31 percent, the country’s Department of Agriculture said April 29. The highest corn yields come from early sowing dates, according to forecaster Martell Crop Projections.
"The extremely slow pace of U.S. corn seeding may result in lower-than-expected area planted and below trend yields," Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a report today.
A persistent delay in planting U.S. corn would probably push production below a base forecast of 14.3 billion bushels toward 13.3 billion bushels, keeping stocks "uncomfortably tight," according to Mathews.
"It is too early to write off corn yields," Martell wrote. "July weather is far more influential in the yield potential affecting the number of kernels developing on ears. Yet if corn planting delays become too severe, growers may be forced to plant soybeans as an alternative crop."
Cold temperatures will slow the warm-up of soils and further delay spring field work in the North Plains, while a significant freeze is possible in parts of the Central and South Plains, forecaster DTN said in a report yesterday.
About 33 percent of U.S. winter wheat was in good or excellent condition as of April 28, down from 64 percent a year earlier, the USDA said. Wheat yields in southwest Kansas and northwest Oklahoma were estimated at 34.1 bushels an acre yesterday, and crops are about three to four weeks behind normal growth, a survey of 50 fields showed.
Wheat for July delivery advanced as much as 1 percent to $7.28 a bushel before trading at $7.2425 a bushel. Milling wheat for delivery in November traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris slipped 0.5 percent to 212.25 euros ($279.96) a metric ton.
Wheat output in Oklahoma, the second-biggest U.S. grower of winter varieties, may tumble 45 percent this year because of drought and freeze damage, the Oklahoma Wheat Commission said yesterday. Production may drop to 85.5 million bushels from 154.8 million a year earlier, said Debbie Wedel, a spokeswoman for the commission.
Soybeans for July delivery rose 0.5 percent to $13.7925 a bushel, advancing for the first time in three days.
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