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Late-maturing crops and persistent rain throughout October halted fieldwork, making this the slowest start for the U.S. harvest since the 1970s. The delays -- and questions about crop quality -- have kept Chicago Board of Trade grain markets on the boil.
"Just look at the price of corn from October to now. The delayed harvest has had a bullish impact on prices," said Terry Reilly, an agricultural analyst with Citigroup.
CBOT corn futures are up about 15 percent since October 1. CBOT soybeans, already supported by strong export demand from China, are up about 7 percent.
In a normal year, farmers would be nearly finished harvesting the two primary crops, which help feed people across the globe, from Europe to Asia to Africa.