Corn futures fell their maximum daily limit, with wheat dropping 3%, as weather forecasts raised hopes further of a window for US spring sowings, besides providing much-needed moisture to winter grains.
Corn for July dipped the $0.30-a-bushel limit in Chicago to lock at $7.29 ¼ a bushel, its lowest level of the month. The new crop December lot went limit down too.
| Crop prices as of 17:40 GMT|
Chicago wheat: $7.40 a bushel, -4.8%
Kansas wheat: $8.73 ½ a bushel, -4.3%
Minneapolis wheat: $9.13 a bushel, -3.6%
Chicago corn: $7.17 a bushel, -4.7%
Chcgo soybeans: $13.37 a bushel, -3.0%
The falls followed the release of forecasts showing that, after rains this weekend, much of the US Corn Belt was set for drier weather, opening up a window for sowings.
"The thought is we are going to get going next week. The Corn Belt is ready to go," Mike Mawdsley at Market 1 said.
Benson Quinn Commodities said: "Corn planting is expected to commence in earnest early next week in many areas of the central and western Midwest."
'Pretty good weather'
Furthermore, latest weather forecasts eased farmers' fears of rainfall returning in earnest around May 6-7.
"This system is not significant and it's just an ordinary cold front moving through the Midwest," weather service WxRisk.com said.
"That means that a lot of areas are going to see a stretch of pretty good weather which will allow things dry out."
Between April 30 and May 8, total rainfall in the upper Plains and western Corn Belt could drop below half an inch, falling on only 30% of the area.
Selling in corn was also spurred by weekly US export sales data which, at 349,000 tonnes, fell short of market estimates.
Wheat futures milled
Forecasts improved for rain-deprived wheat crops too, in northern Europe and China, where rain is forecast, as well as in the US hard red winter wheat belt, which has received some long-awaited rain this week, and where more is forecast.
Kansas hard red winter wheat for July and its equivalent in Chicago, of the soft red winter variety, tumbled more than 4%.
Minneapolis spring wheat was the least affected, given some support by forecasts of continued wet weather in Canada, a big grower of the high protein crop, which is attempting a delayed start to spring sowings.
The July contract in Minneapolis dropped 3.5% to $9.21 ¼ a bushel.
However, many observers retained some doubts about whether the market had overreacted in the extent of its sell-off, with potentially freezing areas ahead for areas such as Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
"The problem is the temperature. You will have to go down to northern Kansas, central Mississippi to see temperatures above 70 degrees [Fahrenheit] in the next seven-to-eight days," veteran meteorologist David Tolleris at WxRisk.com said.
Mr Mawdsley, based in Iowa said: "It's cold. Even if we get crop in the ground, which we haven't yet, it has still got to germinate."
Mr Tolleris also questioned the degree to which the rain landing on parched hard red winter wheat crops would help.
"We will get some showers over most of the winter wheat area. But nothing over half an inch. That's not enough to do anything" in terms of improving crops.
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