Corn resumes rally as traders focus on slow planting; soybeans, wheat firm

CHICAGO, May 30 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures rose 2.2 percent on Thursday, bouncing back from some technical weakness on Wednesday as traders focused on the historic slow pace of planting in the Midwest.

Prices, which hit their highest in nearly three years this week, needed to continue to rally to entice farmers to seed corn acres past the typical planting date and risk reduced yields at harvest time.

“I think it has to do more work,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. “If you are going to ask the farmer to try and plant, you cannot do it at these prices. It does not pencil.”

Soybean and wheat futures also were firmer.

Gains in soybeans were kept in check by expectations that farmers unable to seed corn will switch some of their acreage to soybeans, which can be planted later in the year than the yellow grain.

Wheat futures, which followed corn higher, also benefited from concerns about excessive moisture in the southern Plains damaging the crop that will be harvested in the coming weeks in that key production region.

At 10:25 a.m. CDT (1525 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade corn for July delivery was up 9 cents at $4.27-3/4 a bushel.

The forecast calls for some dry weather in the eastern Midwest next week before more showers arrive.

“Fairly short windows of opportunity for late seeding still likely to add to significant reductions in Midwest corn acreage,” Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

CBOT July soybeans were up 4-1/2 cents at $8.76-1/2 a bushel.

The contract found support from weakness at its 40-day moving average on Wednesday and during the overnight trading session.

CBOT July wheat was 8 cents higher at $4.98-1/2 a bushel.

While U.S. farmers struggle with excessive moisture, Australian growers are suffering from a third year of drought.

Hot and dry weather will persist across Australia’s east coast for at least another three months, the country’s weather bureau said on Thursday, in a forecast that threatens to severely crimp agricultural production.

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