GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain Futures Bounce, Soybeans Follow

Grain futures rose Monday as traders positioned for a rebound in those markets.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Friday that hedge funds increased wagers that corn and wheat prices would fall. Money managers increased their net short position in wheat futures and options by 15% to 77,692 contracts as of last Tuesday, with a net short position of 170,684 corn futures and options.

Soybean Harvest Marches Ahead, Corn Lags -- Market Talk

16:17 ET - US farmers harvested 70% of this year's soybean crop as of Sunday, according to the USDA, making rapid progress last week amid clear skies in the Midwest. They were slower in harvesting corn, however, collecting a below-expectation 38% of the crop. That was behind the pace of recent years. Rainfall in the central and eastern Midwest this week should delay fieldwork. The condition of the corn crop, meanwhile, rose one percentage point to 66% good-or-excellent. Analysts expect the better-quality crop to yield more grain. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

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STORIES OF INTEREST:

The Family Farm Bulks Up

COLBY, Kan. -- Lon Frahm may represent the future of farming. Inside a two-story office building overshadowed by 80-foot steel grain bins, he points to a map showing the patchwork of square and circular fields that make up his operation. It covers nearly 10% of the county's cropland, and when he climbs into his Cessna Skylane to check crops from the air, he can fly 30 miles before reaching the end of his land. At 30,600 acres, his farm is among the country's vastest, and it yields enough corn and wheat each year to fill 4,500 semitrailer trucks.

Big operations like Mr. Frahm's, which he has spent decades building, are prospering despite the deepest farm slump since the 1980s. Years of low prices for corn, wheat and other commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide are driving smaller American farmers out of business.

Cotton Rises on Freeze Fears, Price Supports in India

Cotton futures had their largest percentage gain in more than a year as forecasts call for near-freezing temperatures for west Texas growing areas.

Cotton for December was up 3.1% at 68.97 cents a pound, on track for its largest percentage gain since July 12, 2016. Weather-forecasting agencies were reporting temperatures in the 30s in Lubbock, Texas, for later this week, stoking fears of an early freeze that could cut into yields for cotton in the largest growing state in the U.S.

Australia Wheat Production Forecast Reduced Further -- Market Talk

0433 GMT - Australia's wheat production forecast for 2017/18 has again been lowered by the US Department of Agriculture due to the ongoing adverse seasonal weather conditions. It now forecasts Australia, the world's 4th largest wheat exporter, will produce 20 million metric tons of wheat, down around 40% on the prior season. Australia has been hit by unseasonably dry weather conditions that have hampered wheat yields. The ASX Eastern Wheat Futures is currently trading down A$1.50 at A$260.50 a metric ton. (lucy.craymer@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Pork Belly Stocks on the Rise, USDA Says -- Market Talk

15:25 ET - Meatpackers are rebuilding stocks of pork bellies, according to USDA data, easing a shortage of the cut that prompted a price surge earlier this year. Stocks of bellies in commercial freezers in September rose to 20.9M pounds, up 9% from a month earlier but still 17% below the same time last year. Belly stocks have been at record lows for much of this year, as American consumers' appetite for bacon outpaced production. But broader pork supplies are growing amid larger slaughter numbers and herd sizes. Total frozen pork stocks rose 7% to 616.3M pounds in September from a month earlier. Frozen beef supplies, meanwhile, rose 2% to 487.8M pounds. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 23, 2017 18:00 ET (22:00 GMT)