GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain, Soybean Futures Turn Higher

Grain and soybean futures rose for this first time this week as traders weighed the impact of recent weather forecasts on this year's crops.

Through much of July traders were gearing up for reduced corn and soybean yields, as dry and hot weather prompted what many considered the most difficult start to a growing season in years. A turn for the better in the outlook this week as rainfall and cooler temperatures spread across the Corn Belt prompted heavy selling, but analysts said growing problems were likely to persist.

Agco to Acquire Precision Planting From Monsanto

Farm equipment manufacturer Agco Corp. will acquire a line of high-tech planting equipment from Monsanto Co. after the seed company abandoned plans to sell the unit to Deere & Co. under pressure from the Justice Department.

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Agco said Wednesday that Precision Planting LLC will strengthen its equipment offerings for large farmers. The Georgia-based maker of Massey Ferguson equipment didn't disclose terms of its deal to buy Precision.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

South Africa Corn Output Doubles As Yields Climb -- Market Talk

1606 GMT - South Africa's corn output will likely more than double as Africa's No.1 producer heads for a record crop, aided by favorable weather conditions, says the state-run Corp Estimates Committee. Output is projected at 16 million tons, 2% higher than last month's estimate. The forecast is more than double the 7.7 million tons produced last season. After suffering the worst drought in a century last season, South Africa's corn growing regions have received above average rains this year, enhancing yields. "The expected yield is 6.08 tons/hectare, the highest yield ever," the agency says. South Africa, which was forced to import corn for the first time in 8 years last year is now poised to resume exports of the grain. (Nicholas.Bariyo@wsj.com ; @Nicholasbariyo)

Latin America Farm Slump Hits Syngenta -- Market Talk

13:19 ET - Fresh off closing its $43B sale to China National Chemical Corp, Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta releases downbeat results for the first half of 2017. Earnings dropped 13% for the period to $928M, mainly weighed down by Latin America, where swelled pesticide inventories and low crop prices contributed to Syngenta's regional sales dropping by nearly one-fifth, the company says. CEO Erik Fyrwald says Syngenta aims to keep trimming costs under its new ownership, though the company in late 2015 shelved a plan to divest its vegetable and flower seeds businesses as it began exploring a deal with ChemChina. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

US Growers Warn Uncertainty Hurting Mexico Exports -- Market Talk

10:51 ET - Uncertainty over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement is already hurting US exports to Mexico, an American farm group told lawmakers. "We have strong but unconfirmed evidence that Mexico is slated to purchase between seven and eight cargoes of corn from South America beginning in August and September," Floyd Gaibler, trade director at the US Grains Council, told the House Agriculture Committee. "Given the political uncertainty, our customs have told us...they will resort to the more volatile and risky spot market." (william.mauldin@wsj.com; @willmauldin)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Rise on Cash Prices

Lean hog futures climbed for a second consecutive day as cash-trade prices supported the market.

The going rate for hogs on the cash market has recently trended lower as packers drop their bids, but prices are still higher than futures. That has had traders pushing futures upward to close the gap.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 26, 2017 17:39 ET (21:39 GMT)