U.S. spring wheat futures climbed for the third-consecutive day Wednesday as federal crop data indicated farmers planted fewer acres of the protein-rich grain than previously expected.
Hard red spring wheat for September delivery closed up 20 1/2 cents, or 2.3%, to a two-month high of $9.16 3/4 a bushel at MGEX in Minneapolis. The surge exceeded gains in wheat futures traded in Chicago and Kansas City. Soybean futures also advanced, while corn futures slipped.
Driving spring wheat futures higher was a lower-than-expected plantings estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, or FSA. The agency this week pegged plantings of spring wheat other than durum at about 11.7 million acres, down nearly one million acres from an estimate issued last week by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS. The FSA estimate covers growers who are enrolled in federal farm programs, a majority of producers, according to the agency. The NASS estimate is a sample of all growers.
"The FSA numbers make us probably have to come back around and have to reevaluate the USDA reports," said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting, a brokerage in Indiana.
Farmers are keeping a close eye on the spring wheat crop because it has a high protein content, prized by millers and bakers for making bread, pizza crust and other food products. Supplies of high-protein wheat have tightened since a historic drought hurt output of another good-quality variety known as hard red winter wheat. Hard red spring wheat is grown in northern Plains states like North Dakota, while hard red winter wheat is grown in states in the central and southern Plains like Texas.
Traders also are worried about output of corn and soybeans, which have faced hot, dry weather this summer. Soybean futures jumped Wednesday as forecasts looked drier than expected in areas of the Midwest, analysts said.
Soybeans for November delivery closed up 17 1/4 cents, or 1.3%, to $13.66 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. Corn for December delivery slipped 2 cents, or 0.3%, to $7.25 1/2 a bushel.
In the other wheat markets, soft red winter wheat for September delivery gained 2 3/4 cents, or 0.4%, to $7.27 1/2 a bushel at the CBOT. Hard red winter wheat for September delivery rose 5 3/4 cents, or 0.7%, to $8.23 1/4 a bushel at the Kansas City Board of Trade.
December ethanol rose 1.3 cents, or 0.5%, to $2.639 per gallon, while December oats slipped 0.1% to $3.59 a bushel. December soymeal gained 1% $361.10 per short ton, and December soyoil jumped 1.3% to 56.24 cents per pound.