CHICAGO, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) grains futures settle lower on Wednesday with wheat futures falling more than two percent on forecasts for much-needed moisture in the southern Plains, analysts said.
Corn and soybean futures also declined as traders adjusted positions ahead of key crop data due on Thursday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The most active corn contract for March delivery fell 1 cent, or 0.28 percent, to 3.5725 dollars per bushel. March wheat delivery dropped 8 cents, or 1.87 percent, to 4.1875 dollars per bushel. January soybeans fell 2.25 cents, or 0.22 percent, to 10.115 dollars per bushel.
Wheat posted the biggest decline on a percentage basis, pressured by expectations that weekend storms would help recharge soil moisture in Oklahoma and Kansas, where dry conditions have stressed dormant hard red winter wheat crops.
Precipitation totals over the next five days could reach 2 to 4 inches or more on the southern Plains, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a daily weather bulletin.
Also bearish, a substantial snow layer protected winter crops in Ukraine and Russia from severe frosts this past weekend, experts said on Tuesday.
Corn and soybeans followed wheat lower, with investors stepping to the sidelines ahead of the release of several U.S. government crop reports.
The USDA will release a series of reports on Thursday including U.S. quarterly grain stocks, U.S. annual crop production, U.S. winter wheat seeding and its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE).
In the outside markets, the Brent crude oil market is 1.35 dollars per barrel higher, the U.S. dollar is lower, and the Dow Jones Industrials are 71 points higher at 19,926 points.
Jack Scoville, The PRICE Futures Group's senior market analyst, says that ideas of improving weather forecasts are the reason for the selling.
"There are showers in the forecast for northern Brazil and some are talking drier for northern Argentina as well. But this rain will be a quick hitter and not super beneficial. Then it turns warmer and drier again," Scoville says.