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FILE PHOTO: A truck is loaded with corn next to a pile of soybeans at Matawan Grain & Feed elevator near New Richland, Minnesota October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Karl Plume/File Photo/File Photo

Karl Plume/Reuters

U.S. corn futures rallied on Thursday to their highest in a month after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected stronger demand from ethanol makers and exporters ahead of the next harvest.

Soybeans were mixed as the USDA unexpectedly reduced its view of processor demand this spring and summer in its monthly supply-and-demand report, resulting in slightly larger-than-anticipated stocks at the end of the current crop season.

Winter wheat futures were mixed as the government’s stocks and production forecasts were in line with expectations, while spring wheat rallied on worries about drought-reduced production.

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Grain traders are turning their focus to corn and soy crop-development weather in the U.S. Midwest and late-season corn conditions in drought-hit Brazil as global feed grain supplies are tightening.

The USDA is projecting U.S. corn supplies to shrink to their tightest in eight years due to rising demand from the ethanol and export sectors. The agency also sharply cut its Brazilian corn harvest outlook.

Earlier on Thursday, Brazil’s CONAB slashed its corn crop forecast by nearly 10 million tonnes from its May estimate.

“My biggest takeaway is that we have confirmation of a lot tighter South American supplies, and therefore global supply for the next six months in the corn,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

Chicago Board of Trade July corn rose 8-1/4 cents to $6.99 a bushel after peaking at $7.17-1/2, the highest for a most-active contract since May 12.

July soybeans fell 18-1/2 cents to $15.44 a bushel after the USDA cut its 2020/21 season crush forecast. New-crop November futures gained 11-1/4 cents to $14.59-1/2 as investors remain concerned about tight supplies of the oilseed.

CBOT July wheat was 1-1/2 cents higher at $6.83-3/4 a bushel. Minneapolis Grain Exchange July spring wheat jumped 11-1/4 cents to $7.75-1/2 a bushel.

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