By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, Aug 11 – U.S. corn futures ended flat on Tuesday as traders and analysts predicted that farmers will harvest a large crop despite a damaging storm that tore across the Midwest on Monday.
Soybean futures were steady, while wheat futures rose on technical buying.
Farmers are assessing the damage to their corn from hurricane-force winds that flattened some fields in Iowa and Illinois.
About 200 million to 400 million bushels may have been destroyed, said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for broker StoneX. He estimated the storm reduced the average U.S. yield by 2.5 to 4.5 bushels per acre.
The farm sector may suffer an even bigger hit from damage to steel bins needed to store corn from the autumn harvest, Suderman said.
“It’s still going to be a big harvest,” he said.
The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade closed up 1/2 cent at $3.23-1/2 a bushel after reaching a one-week high of $3.27-1/2.
Traders said they will check weekly crop-condition ratings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday to help determine the extent of crop damage from the storm.
“We’re not going to get too excited or overanxious about rallying sharply because we don’t know how much damage has been done,” said Brian Hoops, president of broker Midwest Market Solutions.
Don Roose, president of Iowa-based brokerage U.S. Commodities, estimated that strong winds may have destroyed 50 million to 100 million bushels of corn. Harvest will be slow for farmers whose crops were blown over, he said.
“It always looks worse the first day,” Roose said. “Then it starts to come back up a little bit.”
Price movements were modest as markets consolidated following multi-week lows in the past few days and ahead of a monthly crop report due from the USDA on Wednesday.
CBOT soybeans closed 1/4 cent higher at $8.73-3/2 a bushel. Wheat advanced 4 cents to $4.95 a bushel.
(Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Leslie Adler)