- U.S. grain futures were mixed on Monday, with corn prices extending gains from the previous session to hit a fresh two-week high after the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted a smaller harvest than analysts had expected.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, corn futures for March delivery traded at USD4.3513 a bushel, up 0.45%. The March contract rose to a session high of USD4.3538 a bushel, the strongest level since December 24.

CBOT March corn soared 5.04% on Friday to settle at USD4.3260 a bushel after the USDA said the U.S. corn crop that was harvested last fall totaled 13.925 billion bushels, 0.5% lower than its December estimate of 13.989 billion and confounding expectations for a harvest of 14.053 billion bushels.

Corn yields averaged 158.8 bushels an acre, down from an estimate of 160.4 bushels in December. Analysts had been looking for an increase to 161.2 bushels.

The USDA also unexpectedly cut its outlook for corn stockpiles at the end of the 2013-14 season in August by 9% to 1.631 billion bushels. Analysts had forecast the inventories estimate would rise to 1.844 billion bushels.

Meanwhile, wheat for March delivery traded at USD5.7488 a bushel, 0.95% higher. Wheat prices held in a range between USD5.7175 a bushel and USD5.7588 a bushel.

The March contract plunged to USD5.6040 a bushel on Friday, the lowest since July 12, 2010, before trimming losses to end at USD5.6900 a bushel, down 2.61%.

The USDA said that U.S. wheat stockpiles in the season ending May 31 will total 608 million bushels, up from 575 million projected last month.

The agency also forecast global supplies of the grain at 185.4 million tonnes, up 1.4% from a December estimate of 182.8 million tonnes. Wheat prices sold off in recent weeks as increased production in Australia and Canada underlined concerns over ample global supplies.

Elsewhere on the CBOT, soybeans futures for March delivery traded at USD12.7438 a bushel, down 0.3%. Prices of the oilseed traded in a range between USD12.7388 a bushel and USD12.7863 a bushel. The March soy contract settled 0.37% higher on Friday to end at USD12.7840 a bushel.

The USDA said U.S. soybean production reached 3.289 billion bushels last fall, 1% higher than a previous estimate and slightly more than analysts had forecast. Soybean yields averaged 43.3 bushels an acre, up from an estimate of 43.0 bushels in December.

Global soybean production will reach a record 284.94 million tons, compared with 283.54 million forecast last month and up from 268.02 million a year earlier, due to increased production in Brazil and Argentina.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.

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