GRAINS-Corn tumbles 4 percent on USDA acreage forecast shock
* USDA forecasts U.S. corn plantings well above expectations
* Soy losses limited by smaller acreage outlook, stocks
* Wheat contracts rise on low spring wheat acres view (Recasts throughout, adds quotes, updates prices, changes byline, dateline from previous SYDNEY/PARIS)
By Karl Plume
CHICAGO, March 31 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures plunged more than 4 percent on Thursday in the market's steepest drop since mid-August after the U.S. Agriculture Department forecast 2016 planted acreage well above trade expectations.
Soybeans drifted lower on spillover pressure from corn, although losses were limited by the USDA's lower-than-expected soybean acreage and quarterly stocks estimates.
Wheat firmed slightly on short covering, led by spring wheat futures which gained about 2 percent after the government pegged planted acreage below trade expectations at the lowest since 1972.
Corn fell to contract lows as the USDA report showed U.S. farmers are planning to boost their corn seedings by 6.4 percent this year to 93.601 million acres (37.88 million hectares), which would be the third-highest level since 1944.
"That's going to be the headline grabber: the big surge in corn acres," said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for INTL FCStone. Continuación...