Drought threat to N American maize

By Joanna Levin

WITH spring planting and early crop development progressing well, US maize prices remain under pressure. The spring crop is 78% in the ground – lower than the 86% planted this time last year, but still well ahead of the 63% five-year average.

Most players are bearish on the short-term outlook due to ten-day weather forecasts that indicate ideal planting conditions in the midwest.

Longer-term, however, some analysts predict a drought in July or August – La Niña, the sequel to El Niño. But farmers need the weather to stay wet for long enough to provide good growing conditions for their spring crop.

In Chicago, the July futures contract closed on 19 May at $2.45/bushel, down 10.75¢ from the start of last week. But more July drought forecasts could trigger a weather scare and drive prices higher as market watchers might anticipate crop damage this summer.

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