From the Wall Street Journal:
Agriculture futures surged after U.S. officials said grain and soybean inventories declined more than expected this winter.
Corn futures climbed 4.5% to $6.9325 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the largest allowed one-day increase under exchange rules. Soybean, wheat and cotton futures jumped as well.
The price gains came even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a separate report said that growers will increase their plantings of most crops to take advantage of multi-year-high prices in farm commodities. Worries remain over the spring weather, with traders and analysts fearing wet weather in the Midwest and dry weather in southern states like Texas will prevent farmers from being able to replenish low supplies.
"Our margin of error has gotten even tighter," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities, a brokerage firm in Iowa, of the upcoming crop.
Prices for agriculture commodities have soared since last summer as poor weather curbed harvests around the world and global demand continued to grow. High prices for corn and other crops have contributed to rising food prices around the globe. A United Nations world food-price index stands at record highs....
...Tighter-than-expected crop supplies increase the importance for favorable growing weather this spring. Yet, meteorologists warn wet weather could prevent early planting and potentially reduce output if farmers aren't able to get in their fields in a timely manner.A couple years ago, in "A Black Swan in Food" we read:
"It's dangerous to have corn stocks that low. Basically you're relying on perfection in the growing season," said Sal Gilbertie, lead portfolio manager of The Teucrium Corn Fund, an exchange-traded fund....MORE
...Donald Coxe, chief strategist of Harris Investment Management and one of my favorite analysts, spoke at my recent Strategic Investment Conference. He shared a statistic that has given me pause for concern as I watch food prices shoot up all over the world.
North America has experienced great weather for the last 18 consecutive years, which, combined with other improvements in agriculture, has resulted in abundant crops. According to Don, you have to go back 800 years to find a period of such favorable weather for so long a time....