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GRAINS-U.S. soy turns lower on bright harvest prospects

Sam Nelson
Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 | 11:01 AM ET

* Soy and corn yields exceeding expectations

* USDA condition report confirming good yields

* Wheat market turns choppy

(New throughout to reflect change in market sentiment, fresh analyst quotes, changes dateline from LONDON) CHICAGO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures turned lower on Tuesday on active harvesting of the U.S. soybean crop and persistent reports of better-than-expected yields. Corn eased on seasonal harvest pressure and spillover from falling soybeans, while wheat turned choppy in two-sided dealings after a technical downturn during Monday's trading session. At 9:44 a.m. CDT (1444 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) November soybeans were down 8-1/4 cents at $12.95-1/2 per bushel, December corn was down 4-1/2 at $4.39-1/2, and December wheat was up 2-1/4 at $7.02. Traders and analysts said the soybean market was garnering significant attention due to reports of big yields in the U.S. autumn harvest. "The surprise is not that we are down (soybeans) but that we didn't see a more significant sell-off," said Arlan Suderman, senior market analyst for Water Street Advisory. Suderman said the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly crop progress report, released late on Monday, confirmed that U.S. soybean and corn yields were above expectations.

USDA data showed the condition of the U.S. soybean crop as of Sunday at 57 percent good-to-excellent, up from 53 percent at the end of September. Corn conditions were at 60 percent good-to-excellent versus 55 percent at the end of September. The USDA did not issue crop progress reports during the roughly three weeks the federal government was shut down. "It's not unusual for crop ratings to turn higher as harvest progresses, but the increase from Sept. 30 was bigger than most, suggesting nearly a 4-bushel increase in the corn yield and nearly 3/4 bushel increase in soybeans," Suderman said. "However, the increase put the corn yield only slightly above the Reuters trade survey," he said. A Reuters poll of 16 analysts late last week showed, on average U.S. corn yield per acre at 157.175 bushels per acre, above USDA's current forecast for 155.3, and soy yields at 41.931 bushels per acre, up from USDA's outlook for 41.2.

ACTIVE HARVESTING "Harvest progress was good and I think there is profit-taking and technical selling around the $13 level in beans," said Mike Zuzolo, analyst for Global Commodity Analytics. USDA showed the corn harvest 39 percent complete and the soybean harvest 63 percent complete, and further progress is expected this week. Light showers early this week accompanied by some light snow will cause only minor slowdowns in harvesting the 2013 U.S. corn and soybean crops, an agricultural meteorologist said on Tuesday. "There will be a few light showers today in the central Midwest, then it will be dry the rest of the week through Saturday," said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA Weather Services.

WHEAT MARKET TURNS CHOPPY Attempts to rally wheat futures were slowed by an improving outlook for the harvest in Argentina and sowings in the Black Sea region. "Wheat had gone up quite significantly because of unfavourable weather conditions, with excessive rains in the Black Sea region, but now we are hearing reports of warmer conditions which will help the final phase of planting," said Vyanne Lai, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank. "There have been doubts about Argentina's production, but it looks like rains will be helpful for the crop." Rains reached Argentina's wheat belt over the weekend, providing much-needed moisture for plants two months ahead of harvest, a local meteorologist said on Monday. Dealers also said Argentina may have overstated damage to this year's wheat crop. Argentina will issue a new 2013/14 wheat harvest estimate in coming days, a spokesman for the agriculture ministry said on Monday, after publishing an erroneous forecast of 8.8 million tonnes last week.

(Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by John Wallace)