By Christopher Walljasper
CHICAGO, June 30 – Chicago corn futures surged nearly 4% on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that U.S. farmers planted 92 million acres of corn this spring, a figure that fell below a range of analyst expectations.
Soybean futures rose after the USDA put U.S. plantings at 83.8 million acres, up a bit from its March forecast but below most analyst expectations.
Chicago Board of Trade September corn was up 13-1/4 cents to $3.42 a bushel as of 1:06 p.m. (1657 GMT), after reaching $3.45-3/4, its highest since April 3.
CBOT August soybeans added 17-1/2 cents to $8.79 a bushel, while CBOT September wheat was up 5 cents at $4.91-1/2 a bushel.
The USDA’s corn planting figure was about 5 million acres below its March 31 forecast of 97 million acres, the biggest March-to-June drop since 1983.
“Corn acres were well below expectations. Producers moved into spring with a bearish market and lots of uncertainty,” said Brian Basting, analyst with Advance Trading. “We really did not see much of a transition of those acres over to soybeans, which were only up 300,000 from March. It’s a bit of a mystery.”
U.S. June 1 corn stocks were larger than anticipated, with 5.224 billion bushels in storage, topping a range of trade expectations. Soybean stocks at 1.392 billion bushels were in line with expectations but down 400 million bushels from a year ago.
“The stocks report was actually a little bit negative, but nobody cared because the plantings report was so dramatically positive,” said Jack Scoville of Price Futures Group.
The smaller-than-expected plantings figures for both corn and soybeans offset pressure from favorable weather that has bolstered crop production expectations heading into July.
After Monday´s close, the USDA rated 73% of U.S. corn in good-to-excellent condition, up from 72% last week, while 71% of U.S. soybeans are in a good-to-excellent state, against 70% last week. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Editing by Andrea Ricci)