CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Grain prices pushed to record highs on Thursday as scattered rains in Midwest did little to douse fears that the worst drought in half a century will end soon or relieve worries around the world about higher food prices.
Government forecasters did not rule out that the drought in the U.S. heartland could last past October, continuing what has been the hottest half-year on record.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Indiana farmer Brian Scott saw on Thursday the heaviest rains of the year soak his 2,300-acre farm in the throes of the worst drought in five decades, but they were a mixed blessing at best.
The downpour came too late for his corn crop, which was already past the critical stage of setting yields. His soybeans, though, could get better and set more pods.
By Karl Plume
(Reuters) – The most expansive U.S. drought in more than a half century grew more dire in the farming states of the Midwest and High Plains this week, wilting corn and soybean crops and sapping already-damaged yield potential, climate experts said Thursday.
More than 70 percent of the nine-state Midwest was in some stage of drought in the week ended July 17, up from 63 percent the prior week, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly report on drought throughout the country compiled by climate experts.
By Karl Plume
(Reuters) – More than 1,100 farmers in Nebraska have been ordered by the state’s Department of Natural Resources to halt irrigation of their crops because the rivers from which they draw water have dropped due to a worsening drought.
The orders come as the central United States bakes under the worst drought in a quarter century which has parched corn and soybean crops and sent prices of both commodities to near-record highs.
July 12 (Reuters) – The worst drought in a quarter century
tightened its grip on the Midwestern United States over the past
week as sweltering temperatures and scant rainfall punished corn
and soybean crops across the region, a report from climate
experts said Thursday.
Nearly two-thirds of the nine-state Midwest region was in
some stage of drought in the week ended July 10, up from just
over 50 percent a week earlier, according to the Drought
Monitor, a weekly report on drought throughout the country
compiled by U.S. climate experts.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures surged to a 9-1/2 month peak on Monday as a worsening drought in the U.S. Midwest severely stressed crops as they pollinated, a critical stage of development which, if inhibited, can result in sharply reduced yields.
Soybeans climbed to their highest point in nearly four years on a continuous chart, propelled by strong export demand and the stressful U.S. weather, but prices slipped from earlier highs amid very thin trade as revised midday forecasts suggested slightly wetter weather.
CHICAGO, July 2 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures surged to a
9-1/2-month peak o n M onday as a worsening drought in the U.S.
Midwest severely stressed crops while they pollinate, a critical
stage of development when high heat and a lack of rain can slash
Soybeans climbed to the highest point in nearly four years
on a continuous chart, propelled by strong export demand and
crop-stressing U.S. weather.
Wheat jumped to a 10-month high, buoyed by its own
tightening supply balance with the outlook for crops in regions
such as the Black Sea diminishing, while the surge in corn could
lead to increased volumes of wheat being used for animal feed.
Grains markets remained focused on a deepening drought
across much of the U.S. Corn Belt.
Storms over the weekend brought light and isolated rain to
parts of the Midwest, but the much-needed precipitation missed a
large portion of the region. Temperatures were forecast to
remain in the 90s to low-100s Fahrenheit for most of this week.
“The weekend rains were a little disappointing. It looks
like the heat’s going to stick around for another four or five
days,” said Alan Kluis, president of Kluis Commodities.
“With rain in August, the soybeans can still come back, but
the dryness in corn during pollination can do irreversible
damage,” he said.
New-crop December corn on the Chicago Board of Trade
rose 23 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $6.57-3/4 a bushel by 9:02
a.m. CDT (1402 GMT), the highest for that contract since
New-crop November CBOT soybeans rose 19 cents, or 1.3
percent, to $14.46-3/4 a bushel after setting a contract high of
$14.55-3/4. The lightly traded front-month contract peaked
at $15.42, the highest for a spot contract since July 2008.
Cropcast, a division of MDA EarthSat Weather, on Monday told
the Reuters Global Ags Forum it had cut its 2012 U.S. corn yield
forecast by three bushels per acre to 150.6 bpa and trimmed its
soybean yield view to 40 bpa, down 0.6 bushel, due to a hot and
dry weather outlook.
The company, which specializes in agricultural weather
forecasting, joined several other private forecasters that have
slashed their crop projections in recent days, including Informa
Economics and investment bank Goldman Sachs
Soybean prices received an added boost from confirmation of
a 1.19-million-tonne private exporter sale to unknown
destinations, announced by the U.S. Agriculture Department.
June 30 (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc has
suspended one of its seafood suppliers amid allegations that the
company, CJ’s Seafood of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, violated
several federal labor laws.
The retailing giant launched an investigation of CJ’s
Seafood following a report published by labor rights group the
Worker Rights Consortium that said the crawfish processor abused
migrant workers, forced them to work 24 hour shifts and used
threats to prevent them from complaining to authorities.
CHICAGO, June 13 (Reuters) – The scramble for scarce stocks
of U.S. corn heated up on Wednesday, as exporters at the Gulf
Coast bought corn barges at the highest price in a month,
suggesting renewed competition for domestic users whose basis
bids were already near record-high levels.
The move may mean the end for a two-tiered market that had
developed over the past month as basis bids in the export market
eased amid slow overseas demand while red-hot domestic demand,
particularly from the ethanol sector, lifted interior bids.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures rallied to a two-week high on Friday, posting their biggest weekly gain in more than a year as tight supplies and worries about crop-stressing weekend weather offset pressure from a firm dollar and weaker financial markets.
Wheat fell nearly 2 percent for the day as the same hot, dry weather that lifted corn was seen supporting a brisk harvest pace for the winter crop, but prices were higher on the week.