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Wheat jumps while corn, beans stall in Thursday trade

Jeff Caldwell 12/02/2010 @ 12:13pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

It's a fairly quiet day in the CME Group grain pits Thursday, with corn and beans wavering just on either side of zero at mid-day, while wheat continues to surge on fresh news of new weather threats to that crop in the Plains.

At mid-day, the March corn futures contract is 1 3/4 cent slower at $5.64 1/2 per bushel, while January soybeans are 1 cent higher at $12.84, according to Barchart.com. March wheat is 24 3/4 cents higher at $7.22 1/4 per bushel.

The tone in the corn and soybean pits is relatively "boring," with just some upside potential for the rest of the day's trade, says Jack Scoville, market analyst with Price Futures Group in Chicago.

"Corn and soybeans more of a choppy affair, with soybeans getting support from the export sales and both getting support from dollar weakness," Scoville says. "Corn so far is holding a pretty strong test of short term support around 560 March, but that is about all."

Longer-term, however, the outlook is higher for those grains, Scoville adds. The same is likely true for the wheat trade, with fresh news Thursday that winterkill may further threaten Plains wheat that's suffered from a lack of moisture throughout the fall.

"Wheat is a weather market, and now it is cold here in the Midwest and will get cold in the Great Plains to increase potential for winterkill on an already poor-looking crop," Scoville adds. "Just a little more to beat on the poor winter wheat this year."

But, don't count out the wheat crop just yet, says one Kansas wheat crop-watcher. Though the amount of that crop that's in the "poor to very-poor" quality range is growing as the crop enters winter dormancy, it's way too early to peg the Plains region's final wheat crop output, says Kansas Wheat government affairs specialist Dalton Henry.

"In the last 20 years of crop condition reports, when we have had this much of the crop rated poor to very poor, and this little of the crop rated good to excellent, the yields have been average or below average," Henry says in a report from Kansas Wheat.

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