US lifts ideas of corn, soy losses to wet spring

Losses by US crop plantings to a wet spring were even larger than had been thought, US data showed, although a boost to prices proved only temporary as reports of strong harvest yields filtered through.

The Farm Service Agency, in its second estimate for areas of sowings abandoned by US farmers, lifted its forecast by 83,000 acres to 8.78m acres (3.55m hectares) an area half the size of Ireland.

The figure included a lift of 68,000 acres to 1.69m acres the figure for the area of soybeans which US growers were unable to seed because of the unusually wet spring.

And the agency lifted by 162,000 acres, to 3.56m acres, its number for the area of corn plantings prevented.

Initial prices rise

A rise was seen in wheat prevent plantings too, by more than 230,000 acres to 1.98m acres, although these figures were offset in part by some declines in other crops.

For instance, areas deemed prevent plant for the likes of alfalfa, mixed forage and oats showed small declines, and that for cotton a drop of more than 40,000 acres although this was counterbalanced by a drop in the forecast for successful plantings too.

Nonetheless, the immediate market impact was to lift futures, particularly in corn, which gained more than 2% at one point in Chicago to $4.68 1/2 a bushel, looking for its best session of the month.

The FSA data are viewed as an incomplete, but useful, insight into levels of US crop sowings, and form part of the data input expected next month to prompt the US Department of Agriculture, in its monthly Wasde report, to lower its forecast for spring sowings of major crops.

Downgrades ahead?

Indeed, the data imply the Wasde should show US corn plantings this year at 94m-95m acres, down 2.4m-3.4m acres on the USDA's current estimate, according to broker US Commodities.

"Soybean planted acres are expected to drop to 75.5m-76m acres versus 77.2m acres in the August report, and wheat would be 54.4m to 55m acres, which would be down 1.5m-2m acres," the broker said.

However, Chicago-based RJ O'Brien said it was sticking with more conservative forecasts for area downgrades of, on a harvested basis, 1.0m acres for corn, 600,000 acres for soybeans and 400,000 acres for wheat.

Furthermore, it noted that while the last FSA data, in August "caught the market off-guard", today's were well-flagged, and are coming amid a harvest in which "corn yields so far are tracking above expectations".

The rally "will fade if corn yields continue to flow in on high side of trade expectations", the broker said.

'Good yields'

Indeed, talk remains of strong yields, with CHS Hedging noting that "early corn harvest reports remain good with many areas better than expected".

In soybeans too, "southern soybean yields are good, but there is not enough harvest started in the north to make a judgement".

December corn retreated to stand at $4.54 1/2 a bushel in Chicago as of 11:00 local time (17:00 UK time).

Soybeans for November stood as 13.32 1/4 a bushel, down 1.2% on the day.

However, in New York, cotton for December hung on to gains, adding 0.5% to 84.40 cents a pound.

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