Corn Climbs as Surging Livestock, Milk Prices Buoy Grain Outlook

Jan 22, 2014 4:21 pm ET

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Corn prices rose for the second straight day as U.S. cattle and milk futures climbed to records, signaling higher grain demand from livestock producers. Wheat and soybeans fell.

Cattle in Chicago have climbed 16 percent since June 30, and hogs have advanced to a six-month high. Milk futures reached an all-time high of $22.47 per 100 pounds. Egg output rose 2 percent in December from a year earlier, government data show. Corn prices have tumbled 41 percent in the past 12 months.

“This is ‘go’ time for the livestock and chicken industries with lower feed costs and rising meat prices,” Brian Grete, the senior market analyst at the Professional Farmers of America newsletter in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “The plunge in corn prices will encourage producers to pack on more pounds on every animal and encourage expansion.”

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to close at $4.2625 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Yesterday, the price gained 0.2 percent.

Temperatures may be as much as 15 degrees below normal into next week from the Midwest to the East Coast, the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a report.

Cold and snow increase demand for livestock feed to maintain animal weights and health, while the weather slowed truck shipments to livestock operations and barge traffic to exporters at ports near New Orleans, Grete of Professional Farmers of America said.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.2 percent to $5.6125 a bushel. On Jan. 10, the price touched $5.605, the lowest since July 15, 2010, on forecasts for global output to climb to a record.

Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $12.795 a bushel. Yesterday, the price tumbled 2.7 percent, the most in 16 weeks, on prospects for bumper crops in South America.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Joe Richter