By Kirk Maltais

--Wheat for July delivery fell 5.9% to $10.45 1/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade Thursday as grain traders continued to take profits on the recent run-up in prices ignited by the war in Ukraine.

--Soybeans for May delivery rose 0.9% to $16.86 1/4 a bushel.

--Corn for May delivery rose 3.1% to $7.55 3/4 a bushel.


Steep Selling: The most-active wheat contract on the CBOT started the day slightly higher, then plunged in steep selling. Wheat dived roughly 18% in the past three days. Meanwhile, grain traders largely moved past Wednesday's WASDE report from the USDA. "I don't think anyone really cared what the USDA thinks right now," said Craig Turner of Daniels Trading. "It is all about Russia, Ukraine and the short squeeze."

Alternative Fuel: Corn futures rose Thursday as some traders focused on ethanol amid bans of Russian oil, natural gas, and coal. "You will hear more from the ethanol industry as this self-inflicted food and energy crisis continues," said Daniel Flynn of Price Futures Group. The EIA reported Wednesday that daily ethanol production and inventories in the U.S. rose over the past week.

Soybean Squeeze: Brazilian crop agency Conab cut its estimate for soybean production for the 2021/22 growing season as a drought in the south slashed productivity. Brazilian farmers will produce 122.8 million metric tons of soybeans this season, the agency said Thursday. In February, the agency forecast a crop of 125.5 million tons. Brazil produced a record 138.2 million tons of soybeans in the 2020-2021 season. Unusually dry weather in Brazil's three southern states slammed crop development and productivity plunged 43%, Conab said.


Lingering Question: The concerns of the grain market continue to be primarily focused on the difficulty in obtaining export grains from Eastern Europe. "End users/importers continue to search for supply amid a nearly shuttered Black Sea," said AgResource. The failure of Russia and Ukraine to reach a cease-fire will continue to inject volatility into grains futures and other commodities, AgResource said.

New High: Export sales of U.S. corn hit a marketing-year high for 2021/22, the USDA reported Thursday. Corn sales for the week ended March 3 totaled 2.14 million metric tons. Leading buyers for corn include Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Colombia. The total is above the estimates of grain traders surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this week, who forecast total sales across 2021/22 and 2022/23 to be anywhere from 750,000 tons to 1.9 million tons. Meanwhile, soybean and wheat sales fell within the forecasts of analysts, at 3.1 million tons and 370,200 tons across both marketing years, respectively.


--The CFTC will release its weekly commitment of traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.

-The USDA will release its weekly grains export inspections report at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

-The USDA will release its twice-yearly North American grains and crushings report at 3 p.m. ET Monday.

Jeffrey Lewis contributed to this article.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-10-22 1531ET