U.S. wheat gains on crop concerns, corn ends lower

KANSAS CITY Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:51pm EDT

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - U.S. wheat prices rose for a seventh straight session on Wednesday to match the longest rally since January as a drop in the dollar improved export prospects for U.S. supplies, while production concerns grew.

High-quality spring wheat futures traded at the smaller exchange in Minneapolis led Chicago and Kansas City wheat markets higher, rising more than 2 percent amid concerns over poor yields from the crop being harvested.

Corn prices gave up early gains in light volume as fund buyers stayed on the sidelines, while soybean futures found strength in continuing crop concerns amid dry conditions in parts of the U.S. Midwest.

Spring wheat futures at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange ended 20-1/2 cents higher at $9.16-3/4 a bushel. Chicago Board of Trade September wheat closed up 2-3/4 cents at $7.27-1/2, after rising to $7.39-1/4, the highest since June 16.

The September CBOT nearby corn contract closed off 2-1/2 cents at $7.11-1/2, and nearby CBOT soybeans ended up 16-3/4 cents at $13.56-3/4.

The surge in spring wheat prices came as traders noted that rains had halted sowing this spring over a large area in North Dakota, the top spring wheat state.

"Yields are disappointing in the early harvest in the spring wheat area," Newedge analyst Dan Cekander said.

Grain prices were also influenced by the weak dollar and higher crude oil. Early strength in stock markets added spillover support, and as equities faded, grain gains ebbed.

Traders eyed weather forecasts that called for dry areas of the U.S. Midwest corn and soybean growing region to receive rain soon. Temperatures over the next week will remain moderate, an agricultural meteorologist said.

Traders digested news from the government that U.S. farmers reported 7 million acres (2.8 million hectares) of prevented plantings of corn, soy and spring wheat this year due to cold and rainy conditions this spring in the corn belt and the northern U.S. Plains.

In the soybean market, there were concerns that a La Nina weather pattern could threaten South American crops next year.

Funds were sellers of an estimated 5,000 corn contracts and buyers of 6,000 soybean contracts and 2,000 wheat contracts.

(Additional reporting by Sam Nelson in Chicago and Naveen Thukral and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; Editing by Dale Hudson and Bob Burgdorfer)

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