(Recasts, updates with closing prices, adds new analyst quote)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rallied on Monday, piggybacking on sharp gains in the soymeal market, while corn and wheat futures were steady to weaker.
“Beans were down early ... but came roaring back higher, lead by the meal (again), and backstopped by a weaker U.S. dollar,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.
Wheat futures faced pressure from good growth conditions across the U.S. Plains. K.C. hard red winter wheat futures posted the biggest losses, and their weakness spilled over into the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contracts.
Analysts were waiting for reports from the Wheat Quality Council’s annual tour of Kansas this week for confirmation that ample moisture was bolstering prospects for the hard red winter wheat crop.
CBOT July soft red winter wheat futures dropped 3/4 cent to $4.87-3/4 a bushel while K.C. hard red winter wheat ended down 4-1/4 cents at $4.74-1/4 a bushel.
CBOT July soybeans ended up 14 cents at $10.43-3/4 a bushel. July soymeal futures surged $12.50 to $347.30 a ton, with the most active contract hitting its highest since mid-July.
CBOT July corn was unchanged at $3.91-3/4 a bushel.
Bargain buying pulled corn from negative territory late in the trading session but the buying was kept in check by forecasts for dry weather across the U.S. Midwest. If realized, the weather outlook would allow farmers to resume their planting after storms drove them from fields for much of the past week.
“The balance of the week is favorably dry for the Midwest/South and will allow for substantial planting progress, particularly given the slightly lesser weekend rain totals compared to expectations,” Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.
Grain markets will get an update on crop conditions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress at 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT).
Analysts were expecting the report to show that farmers remain ahead of their typical pace despite the weather-enforced slowdown last week. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompis in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler)