U.S. wheat futures led a broad recovery in grain futures Tuesday, with Minneapolis spring wheat soaring to two-month highs on crop and acreage concerns.
The combination of disappointing yield reports from spring wheat harvests and concerns that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will increase the amount of acres that farmers took preventative planting insurance on, sparked fears of a smaller crop potential.
Farmers take preventative planting insurance payments on acres that were intended for planting, but due to drought or flooding was unused.
The USDA Farm Service Agency reported certified acres through August Monday night, and had some 10 million acres of total prevent-planted area from all grains, maybe one million more than expected, said Charles Sernatinger, analyst with ABN AMRO Clearing Chicago LLC.
"The areas that seem to be heavy on prevent plant are cotton areas, spring wheat/durum acres, and some corn areas," he added.
Minneapolis spring wheat drew the most attention from the acres data, as many traders believed the increase in prevent-plant acres would come from North Dakota, where extremely wet weather was seen early in the year, MF Global broker Doug Bergman wrote in a market note.
North Dakota is the leading producer of spring wheat in the U.S.
"There is plenty of wheat around the world, but there could be shortages of hard red spring wheat if U.S. production disappoints, Bergman added.
Minneapolis spring wheat for September delivery ended up 29 1/2 cents, or 2.7%, at 8.96 1/4 a bushel. The contract ended up 3.1% from the low price of the trading session. Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract for September delivery finished up 12 1/4 cents, or 1.7%, at $7.24 3/4 a bushel.
The surge in wheat spilled over to corn futures, where traders began to factor in the potential for more corn acres lost to preventative planting, raising fear that corn harvested acres will drop from current levels. The December contract rose to a new high for a second consecutive day.
Industry analysts are concerned about any drop in crop potential, particularly with new-crop corn's end-of-year supplies already projected at precariously tight levels by government forecasters.
Corn for December delivery, the most active contract, end up 7 1/2 cents, or 1%, at $7.27 1/2 a bushel.
The concerns about smaller production overcame initial pressure from global economic fears. The markets also benefited from U.S. equities and crude oil paring some of their early losses.
Soybean futures briefly followed the recovery in wheat and corn markets, but failed to sustain price strength in the face of cooler, wetter weather conditions that are expected to bolster soybean yield potential. Soybeans for November delivery ended down 1 3/4c at $13.49 1/2 a bushel.
CBOT December soyoil ended up 0.81 cent a pound, and December soymeal was up $5.60 at $357.70/short ton. CBOT November rice ended up 1 1/2 cents at $17.38 a hundredweight.
Ethanol for December delivery rose 0.7% to $2.626 a gallon. Oats for September delivery end up 0.4% at $3.48 a bushel.