CHICAGO: US corn futures jumped to a two-week high on Friday and soybeans advanced as forecasts for hot weather fuelled concerns about potential damage to crops growing in farmers' fields.
Traders focused on worries about the heat over the next week after heavy rains and flooding caused unprecedented delays in corn planting this spring. The planting disruptions left some corn with shallow root systems that make the crop more vulnerable to damage from unfavourable weather.
"You've got 10 days of low to upper 90s (Fahrenheit) (32-38 degrees Celsius) on a crop that really cant take much more stress," said Jim Gerlach, president of Indiana-based broker A/C Trading. "Its been stressed from the get go."
Most actively traded Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures rose 8 cents to $4.56 a bushel by 11:32 a.m. (1632 GMT). The market traded up to $4.57-1/4, its highest since June 28.
The gains helped support soybeans, which are often planted later in the year than corn, traders said. Most-active November soybean futures were up 7 cents at $9.24-1/4 a bushel.
"Confidence is rising in forecasts for hot dry weather to build over significant portions of the Midwest, raising stress on corn and soybean crops with shallow root systems," said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for broker INTL FCStone.
Analysts shrugged off a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report issued on Thursday that raised the government's production forecast for corn based on its larger-than-expected June 28 planted acreage estimate of 91.7 million acres (37.1 million hectares).
Traders deemed the USDA's June acreage estimate to be too high corn and are awaiting the results of a follow-up USDA survey on rain-delayed plantings.
"The USDA chose to post the unbelievable June US planting intention of 91 million acres, but all eyes are on Midwest weather," Rabobank analysts said in a note.
The most-active CBOT wheat futures contract was down 1-1/2 cents at $5.20 a bushel.
The market consolidated after prices surged to a 10-day high on Thursday after the USDA surprised the market with a steep cut to its outlook for global wheat supply.