Wheat Climbs as U.S. Rains Threaten Crop Quality; Soy Advances

Jun 18, 2014 4:45 pm ET

June 18 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat rose for the first time in eight sessions amid concern that excess rain in the Great Plains is damaging crop quality and will limit supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soy also gained.

Wet weather will slow the wheat harvest in the southern Plains, particularly from the middle of next week, Commodity Weather Group wrote in a report today. Rain on ripe plants can hurt grain weight and baking quality. The showers come after drought in the first quarter threatened production and pushed prices up 15 percent.

“The Kansas wheat crop is the worst I have ever seen it, and I grew up on a Kansas wheat farm,” Arlan Suderman, a senior market analyst at Water Street Solutions Inc. in Peoria, Ill., said in a telephone interview. “The bad drought in the southern Plains and now the persistent rain is threatening harvest delays and hurting the crop.”

Wheat futures for September delivery rose 0.9 percent to settle at $5.9625 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The most-active contract has slumped 20 percent from this year’s peak of $7.44 on May 6 amid the outlook for rising global production.

About 63 percent of the Kansas winter crop was in poor or very poor condition as of June 15, compared with 45 percent a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The state is the largest U.S. winter-wheat grower.

Corn futures for December delivery were unchanged at $4.395 a bushel on the CBOT. Prices fell to $4.3625 yesterday, the lowest for a most-active contract since Feb. 4.

Soybean futures for November delivery rose 0.1 percent to close at $12.13 a bushel in Chicago.

--With assistance from Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne.