Crop prices climb as US temperatures rise

File/AP Photo
File/AP Photo

AP Business Writer

Prices for grains and beans are continuing a steady climb as crops languish in summer heat across much of the nation's farmland.

Corn, wheat and soybeans all rose Monday, extending hefty price gains posted in June on expectations that the hot dry weather will erode production. At the same time, global demand remains strong.

Some growers are already reporting damage to corn, which is at a critical pollination stage. In some areas, the corn already has been damaged to the point that rain may not be enough to salvage the crop, Telvent DTN analyst John Sanow said.

He and other analysts have lowered their yield estimates to an average of about 150 bushels per acre or less. That compares with the U.S. Agriculture Department's June estimate of 166 bushels per acre.

Conditions also are deteriorating for soybeans, which remain in short supply globally after South American growers produced a smaller crop this year. That has sent many countries to the U.S. to buy the protein-rich beans.

Wheat prices are surging because of weather issues in other parts of the world. Sanow said there also are worries that the quality of the U.S. crop may deteriorate because of the heat.

Corn for December delivery rose 21 cents, or 3.3 percent, to finish at $6.5575 per bushel. The price is up 19 percent since June 1. November soybeans increased 10.25 cents to finish at $14.38 per bushel, up 7 percent in the past month. September wheat ended up 15.25 cents at $7.725 per bushel. That's up 26 percent since June 1.

Other commodity prices were mostly lower after a new report concluded U.S. manufacturing production declined in June for the first time in nearly three years. The Institute for Supply Management also said that the numbers of new orders plunged.

In addition, China's manufacturing grew in June at its slowest pace in seven months, according to a survey by the state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. China is a huge importer of raw materials such as oil, copper and soybeans.

Gold for August delivery fell $6.50 to end at $1,597.70 an ounce and September silver declined 11.3 cents to $27.499 per ounce. September copper dropped 2.75 cents to finish at $3.469 per pound, October platinum rose $5.90 to $1,458.30 per ounce and September palladium fell $6.55 to $578 an ounce.

Benchmark crude dropped $1.21 to end at $83.75 per barrel in New York. Heating oil fell 3.4 cents to end at $2.6759 per gallon, wholesale gasoline decreased 0.79 cent to $2.6239 and natural gas was unchanged at $2.824 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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