GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Soybean Futures Rise on Uncertain Weather Prospects

Soybean futures reversed course on Tuesday to close higher as the outlook for this year's crop remained cloudy.

A bout of unexpected rain across parts of the Midwest and Plains overnight, along with wetter forecasts for the coming weeks, initially prompted traders to take profits in grain-and-oilseed markets after gains on Monday.

Arkansas Bans Herbicide as Farmers Blame Neighbors for Crop Damage

Crop damage from a powerful herbicide is spreading across the southern U.S., spurring a flood of complaints to agricultural agencies and sowing division among farmers.

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Hundreds of farms in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Mississippi have reported crops shriveled by dicamba. For farmers, lower crop yields due to herbicide damage could add to financial pressures after several years of low crop prices.

Missouri Could Lift Herbicide Ban -- Market Talk

12:54 ET - Missouri's agriculture department this week may lift a suspension on the sale and use of dicamba, a potent herbicide that's blamed for damaging hundreds of fields across southern US farm states, an agency spokeswoman says. Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn last week instituted the temporary ban after more than 100 complaints of dicamba damage to crops in the state, and agency officials have been discussing with manufacturers additional restrictions and safeguards around its use. Dicamba has proliferated across US farm fields this year as Monsanto (MON) broadly rolled out new genetically engineered soybean and cotton plants designed to resist the spray, which can kill weeds other herbicides can't touch. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Dow To Sell Some Of Its Seed Business In Brazil In Connection With DuPont Merger -- MarketWatch

The Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) said late Tuesday it has agreed to sell a portion of its corn-seed business in Brazil to an arm of China's CITIC Ltd. conglomerate for $1.1 billion. The deal is meant to satisfy commitments to Brazilian regulators in connection to Dow's merger with DuPont (DD), the company said in a statement. The deal is contingent upon the closing of the Dow and DuPont merger, in addition to other closing conditions, it said. The merger is expected to generate cost synergies of approximately $3 billion and growth synergies of $1 billion, and both companies have reaffirmed their expectation to close the merger in August, with the intended spin-offs to occur within 18 months of closing. Shares of Dow were down 0.7% in late trading after ending the regular session up 0.1%.

-Claudia Assis

Farm Groups Warn Ross on Trade Retaliation -- Market Talk

12:00 ET - US agricultural groups warn Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that new trade barriers to steel and aluminum imports could boomerang on the Farm Belt. "US agriculture is highly dependent on exports, which means it is particularly vulnerable to retaliation," say groups representing US farmers, dairymen, cattle ranchers and hog producers. Many nations that sell steel to US buyers are big customers for US-produced grain, milk and meat, and "the potential for retaliation from these trading partners is very real," the farm groups say. The Trump administration earlier this month missed its own deadline for finishing a major probe of steel imports, amid pushback from business groups worried about higher costs and trade reprisals. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

South America Struggles Weigh on Grain Traders -- Market Talk

9:59 ET - Analysts are bracing for tough numbers when some of the world's biggest agricultural traders report quarterly earnings in the weeks ahead, thanks to "an incredibly challenging quarter in South America," according to Vertical Group. Profit margins in the soybean-crushing business there have slid well below year-ago levels, while another massive crop has kept grain prices low, discouraging farmers there from selling to traders like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge (BG). Vertical Group cuts quarterly estimates for both, now projecting Bunge's quarterly profits to decline 53%, and a 17% gain for ADM, both below analysts' average estimate. ADM down 0.8% and BG down 0.7%. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Rise on Cheaper Feed Costs

Cattle futures bounced on Tuesday as falling grain prices cut feed costs for producers.

August-dated contracts for feeder cattle, which need to be fattened before slaughter, rose 1.8% to $1.4725 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. A correction in corn prices on Tuesday, which have recently rallied over concerns about dry weather, helped reduce the cost of feeding the herds.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 11, 2017 18:02 ET (22:02 GMT)