It was a small sop for agricultural commodity bulls.
But it helped corn, nonetheless, to at least slow its tailspin, and put the brakes on soybeans' decline too.
Early on Wednesday, talking of needed rains forecast for Iowa, the top corn and soybean producing state, WxRisk.com said that "so far it appears that thunderstorms are not showing up as some models had forecast.
"It still early yet, but so far things are underperforming," the weather service said.
While not a major crop setback – or enough to trigger concern that, say, Goldman Sachs had been precipitous in cutting its corn price forecast overnight by $0.50 to $4.25 a bushel (three-, six- and 12-month horizons) on expectations of a 161 bushels-per-acre yield – it did help persuade some investors to take profits on their hefty corn short positions.
Such a willingness was assisted by a broad shrug at the revisions by the Environmental Protection Agency changes to the US ethanol mandate, which implied a little extra corn use for making the biofuel in 2013 (with the need for cellulosic ethanol reduced).
However, there is the prospect of a cut to 2014 requirements, given the lack of popularity of blends above 10% ethanol in gasoline.
"We see little effect on old crop corn inventories, and only a marginal effect on new crop inventories," Christopher Narayanan at Societe Generale said, if retaining a bearish outlook on prices.
Crop tour results
That said, Chicago's benchmark December corn lot was hardly in buoyant mood, against the backdrop of a likely record US harvest.
Indeed, even in dry Iowa, a Lanworth crop tour found that yields were, in the west of the state, likely to average 207 bushels per acre, despite some signs of drought stress.
Furthermore, there is talk in Chicago of the former Soviet Union and Brazil representing an increasing threat on export markets, more than the US Department of Agriculture has acknowledged in its forecasts for 2013-14.
December corn eased 0.1% to $4.59 a bushel as of 09:50 UK time (03:50 Chicago time).
'Funds still too long'
New crop November soybeans stood down a little more, by 0.2% at $11.66 ½ a bushel.
But then the urge to cover short positions on any sign of potential crop adversity is not so great. Hedge funds have a substantial net long position in soybeans, compared with a record net short in corn.
"The market is technically oversold, but the trend-following fund is still too long this market," Benson Quinn Commodities said.
(For corn, the record net short "could mean a continuation of the downtrend like we saw in the natural gas contracts a few years ago, or it could also force a massive short covering rally if we happen to see a true crop damaging frost show up", another broker noted.)
Furthermore, November futures have suffered technical damage from their decline to a succession of 14-month lows, although they have failed yet to notch up a fresh one this time.
And that press on wheat too, near its own 14-month lows, as investors balanced further evidence of demand, but much of it from other geographies than the US.
Iraq on Wednesday bought 150,000 tonnes of Australian and Canadian wheat.
This following orders on Tuesday by Egypt of 120,000 tonnes of Romanian and Ukrainian wheat, and by Jordan of 100,000 tonnes of optional origin supplies, and with Syria in the market for 200,000 tonnes of soft milling wheat.
Brian Henry at Benson Quinn Commodities reminded of "ideas that China is well on its way to buying at least 8m tonnes of wheat from various origination points".
As for US prospects, the country's exports" have been well above the pace needed to meet the USDA's expectations of 1.075bn bushels", Mr Henry said.
"But increased supplies throughout the northern hemisphere will keep competition strong.
"US offers remain at a competitive disadvantage outside of traditional hard wheat business into the Pacific Rim, potential hard wheat business into Brazil, and the possibility of additional Chinese interest in soft red winter wheat going forward."
Sure, he also flagged talk that in Russia, "recent rains most likely reduced the quality of a portion of that crop", and certainly the country has been relatively muted in terms of high profile export wins so far in 2013-14.
And, technically, is looks like a trend of liquidating long wheat/short corn spreads is "over", he said.
Nonetheless, Chicago wheat for September eased 0.2% to $6.49 ¼ a bushel.
'Disruptions to supply'
Among soft commodities, arabica coffee opened a little firmer, after its declines in the last session on disappointment that Brazil's government failed late on Monday, as had been expected, to introduce fresh support measures for growers.
"This resulted in the infuriation of coffee producers and could bring about protests," Joyce Liu at Phillip Futures said.
Indeed, "if coffee producers were to organise protests, we could expect disruptions to the supply of coffee and the hiking up of prices".
Arabica coffee for September edged 0.2% higher to 118.15 cents a pound.
Cotton for December edged 0.2% higher to 85.84 cents a pound, amid continued concerns over dryness in Texas, the top US producing state.
Cotton stocks for delivery against ICE futures fell further to 70,251 bales, the lowest in eight months.