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Grain farmer Jim Niewold inspects corn plants on his farm, with grain bins at rear where some of last year’s crop remains in storage because all of his end markets have been affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Loda, Illinois, June 18, 2020.

Nick Carey | Reuters

U.S. corn futures rose on Friday to their highest level since late January before paring gains and soybeans reached a one-month peak as floods disrupted harvests in top exporter Brazil and disease ate into Argentina’s corn crop, analysts said.

Wheat futures hit a one-week high on renewed concerns over dry weather in Russia, the world’s biggest wheat supplier.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July corn settled up 1/2 cent at $4.60-1/4 per bushel after climbing to $4.68, the contract’s highest level since Jan. 26. Corn sales by U.S. farmers increased starting on Thursday as the contract broached $4.60, brokers said.

CBOT July soybeans settled up 16 cents on Friday at $12.15 a bushel and July wheat rose 18-1/4 cents to finish at $6.22-1/2 a bushel.

Corn and soybean prices were supported by flooding in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul, where the harvest is in its final stages. The state is Brazil’s second-largest producer of soybeans and sixth-largest producer of corn.

In Argentina, corn stunt disease spread by leaf-cutter insects and adverse weather prompted the Buenos Aires grains exchange to slash its estimate for Argentina’s 2023/24 corn harvest by 3 millions metric tons to 46.5 tons.

Worries about labor issues added support. “‘Tis the season for strikes in Argentina,” said Susan Stroud, an analyst at NoBullAg.com, referring to strikes disrupting work at the country’s grain ports.

In wheat, Russia’s IKAR agricultural consultancy cut its forecast for the country’s crop to 91 million metric tons from 93 million tons and its wheat exports to 50.5 million metric tons from 52 million tons.

Wheat futures jumped as weather forecasts showed the region getting virtually no rain in the coming two weeks.

Russian weather and a weaker U.S. dollar have brought “a confluence of end-user, commercial-related buying here,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

There and in South America, “Mother Nature has dealt the trump card of cutting supplies.”

Managed money funds held a net short position in CBOT wheat futures at the beginning of 2024 because of a strong dollar and slow U.S. demand, Zuzolo said.

“Now both of these things are being re-evaluated.”

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